Habits: Moving closer or further from God

J. C. Ryle: “Believe me, you cannot stand still in your souls. Habits of good or evil are daily strengthening in your hearts. Every day you are either getting nearer to God, or further off.”

Discussing this topic tonight at Bible study, and then examing myself, leaves me wanting to stronger comittment to God’s Word. If I am moving closer or further from God every day through my habits, then I want to be committed to God’s Word. His Word is the only way I can sustain spiritual maturation. In Hosea 4:1 and 4:6, it was a lack of knowlege of God’s word that destroyed the kingdom. In 6:3 and 6:6, it was returning to God’s Word that was the path to restoration.

“Bible before breakfast” was what I heard at a Navigator conference. Do I have any justification to refuse to spend a few minutes with God every morning? I don’t. And I think the level of consitency in my devotion to searching the scriptures is directly correclated to the value I ascribe to them.
I want to make a list of as many reasons I can find to read God’s word. I think that list will make my lack of justification for not spending time with my God all the more pathetic.

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Habits: Replacing the old with the new

Just a quick thought on habits…
Can you stop an old habit without creating a new, positive one? I find it almost impossible.

Eph 4:20-25 –
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”

Notice: we first take off old, then we put on the new. We don’t try to stop an old habit and then not replace it. That is a recipe for inviting the old habit back! Example from text: Stop lying, and learn to tell the truth.
Identify sin, and replace that behavior with new, God-glorifying behavior. That’s practical, and will probably bring progress where we found failure before in dealing with habits.

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