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There is an old, familiar saying that tells us, "Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny." Our characters, and ultimately our destinies, are being formed each day, little by little, as we make the choices that become the habits of our lives. For that reason, it is of utmost importance that we form good habits and uproot the bad ones from our daily practice.
Our habits are not a matter of indifference to our Heavenly Father. God wants us to get rid of our bad habits. If we are to be "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pt. 1:3,4), sinful ways of thinking and acting must be removed from our character. This involves not only divine help on God's part, but also repentance on ours. We cannot go to heaven as we are -- some changes have to take place. Hence Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2).
The longer a habit has been in our lives, of course, the harder it will be to break. Whether it is a pattern of thinking or an action that we've repeated many times, a habit is a strong force in our lives. When something becomes habitual, it has a certain momentum that keeps it going. This momentum is hard to resist, and we shouldn't underestimate the diligent work that will be required if we are to break these long-standing thoughts and actions.
But as long as we are alive, we still have a will that is free. We can choose our actions, and if we choose good ones, God will help us. We may have become enslaved to our habits, but God will help us break their bondage. In Phil. 4:13, Paul said, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." If something is necessary for our salvation, we need not worry about its being impossible. Whatever is necessary, God will enable us to do it.
So before it's too late, we need to repent of the sinful traits that have crept into our character. If we do not, they will follow us into eternity. Throughout this week, let's think about that fact. Let's quit making excuses for unacceptable conduct, repent of our wrongdoing, and make up our minds that we're going to accept the help God wants to give us to be faithful to Him.
Monday: Colossians 3:1-17
Key Idea: God wants us to get rid of our bad habits.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean that we are to "put off the old self" (v.9) and "put on the new self" (v.10)? What does Paul say are some of the thoughts and actions we must get rid of (vv.5-9)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:20.
Tuesday: John 12:1-8
Key Idea: We may be disciples of the Lord and still have sinful attitudes we need to get rid of.
Questions for Family Growth: In this account, what was it that Judas complained about? According to v.6, why did he do as he did? Even though outwardly he was a disciple of Jesus, what was wrong with Judas inwardly?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:21.
Wednesday: Genesis 4:1-16
Key Idea: A sinful attitude will grow worse if we do not exert control over it.
Questions for Family Growth: According to 1 Jn. 3:11,12, why did Cain kill his brother? Why is even a little bit of envy, anger, etc. a very dangerous thing? What warning did God give to Cain in Gen. 4:7?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:22.
Thursday: Acts 8:9-24
Key Idea: A sinful attitude will cause us to be poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.
Questions for Family Growth: What sinful thing did Simon do? According to v.21, what was his real problem? What did Peter mean by the "gall of bitterness" and the "bond of iniquity" (v.23 ESV)? What will a sinful mind do to us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:23.
Friday: Galatians 5:16-26
Key Idea: God wants us to enjoy the benefits of thinking as He does.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.21, what will happen to those who let evil remain in their lives? What does Paul say are some of the good things we must put into our hearts and lives (vv.22,23)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:24.