One of the towns I like to visit has a one-way traffic system running through the centre of it. However for some reason whenever I cross the road in this town I always look both to the left and right before walking across the road.
I have often wondered why I look both ways in this situation because the cars can only come from one direction! After thinking about this I have come to the conclusion that I do this out of habit. I was taught from a young age to look both ways before crossing the road so that is what I do, even in a one-way street.
This got me thinking on the importance of developing good habits in our lives. When we develop good habits we find that they become second nature to us and we do them naturally. They become part of us.
So how long does it take to develop a habit? If you type that question into Google there are a number of web pages you can find that suggests that 21 days is the answer to that question. However I’m not sure there is an exact science to this. There are obviously some habits that take longer to develop than others. Also it goes without saying that there are some habits that take considerable more than 21 days to break.
There are many good habits that we should seek to develop as a Christian. The following three I believe are worth pursuing:
Regular Bible reading and Prayer
One of the good habits I was taught as a young Christian was the importance of setting aside some time each day to read my bible and prayer.
For a new Christian it can be useful to start off by either reading through one of the gospels or alternatively using bible reading notes.
You might ask “when is it best to read the bible and pray?” When I was younger I tended to do my daily bible readings and prayers in the evening as that best fitted in with my daily schedule. However as I got older I changed that to the morning as I found that worked best for me. Whether you do this in the morning or evening does not really matter though. The important thing is to find time each day to read your bible and pray.
Controlling our tongues
Perhaps the most challenging thing in life is controlling our tongues. There are plenty of bible verses that tell us the importance of this. The book of James has some very strong warnings about our tongues and how we should not criticise others.
I expect we all have many times deeply regretted saying something to someone that has caused unnecessary upset. So much damage can be done by careless words.
One of the best habits that we can develop is to decide that we will not criticise others and to think before we speak.
Forgive as we have been forgiven
As a Christian it is a wonderful thing to know that Jesus has forgiven me. He has totally forgiven me.
Therefore just as we have been forgiven we should also be willing to forgive others who have wronged us. If we are being honest most of us would admit that we find this difficult at times.
However we need to remember that forgiving others is extremely important. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our sin as we forgive those that sin against us.” If we don’t forgive others then we run the potential risk of not having our sins forgiven.
So we really need to develop the habit of forgiving others. It’s an important habit to develop.