As we increasingly experience the Word of God a habit can quickly become a pursuit, leading to a productive relationship with Jesus Chris. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
I’m of the belief that no one is born to do one thing; rather, we’re all born with the potential to do something depending upon experiences that arise on a daily basis. As we journey through life each day presents a purpose that may be unique to the day. The purpose may be mundane and forgotten with the night or pleasurable and remembered in the morning. Monday’s pleasure might become Tuesday’s longing, and so on. This is how habits are formed–some good and, regrettably, some bad. I recall a moment in my life over fifty years ago when a teacher complimented me on a short story that I’d written as an assignment. The compliment was simple: “‘You’re a good writer Mark.”‘ That was it. Nevertheless, I found great pleasure in the compliment, never forgetting it to this day. It provided the impetus for me to write again–more short stories, additional feature pieces, and finally books, Blogs and commentaries. One compliment initiated a habit that eventually blossomed into a pursuit. Today I write out of a love for writing. However, there was a time when it was my habit to write because I felt I should as it was a talent that was developing within me. Over time, however, obligation has been replaced by love, as I no longer feel compelled to secure the talent, just moved by love to do something quite pleasurable.
As we increasingly experience the Word of God a habit can quickly become a pursuit, a pursuit that leads to a productive relationship with Jesus Christ yielding a love for the Word not just a compulsion to read it.
Here’s a story: In Pulpit Digest William H. Willimon used this illustration; “‘Philip Haille wrote of the little village of Le Chambon in France, a town whose people, unlike others in France, hid their Jews from the Nazis. Haille went there, wondering what sort of courageous, ethical heroes could risk all to do such extraordinary good. He interviewed people in the village and was overwhelmed by the ordinariness. They weren’t heroes or smart, discerning people. Haille decided that the one factor that united them was their attendance, Sunday after Sunday, at their little church, where they heard the sermons of Pastor Trochme. Over time, they became by habit people who just knew what to do and did it. When it came time for them to be courageous, the day the Nazis came to town, they quietly did what was right. One old woman, who faked a heart attack when the Nazis came to search her house, later said, ‘Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life when a person is asked to do something for Jesus. When our time came, we knew what to do.’”‘ (William H. Willimon.)
Habits are conscious compulsions to do something that provides pleasurable experiences and positive outcomes in our lives. The good ones we need to promulgate and the bad ones we need to resist and put away. The art of doing either begins with a conscious effort to cultivate a will to increase our knowledge and understanding of the habit and to move beyond compulsion to pursuit. Like those French town people we need to prepare our spiritual lives for those times when Jesus asks us to do something for him. You may be in the habit of reading your Bible or praying over your meals. That is good. Don’t stop there. Look for opportunities to grow in your knowledge of the Word and the facility of prayer so that what may now be a mere habit will eventually by a lifetime pursuit based on a pure love for Christ and not a compulsion to be a good believer. Learn to hold the reading of the Word, prayer and worship in pleasure and what may have been a compulsion may grow into a passion no habit can adequately measure up to.
We pray. Thank you Lord for establishing your Word in our hearts by your Holy Spirit. Forgive us Lord, when we are content to keep the habit of worshipping you but never willing to reach beyond the habit to a better knowledge of your Word. Help us Lord to grow in our faith, always looking to pursue Jesus Christ out of love for the gospel not just a sense of duty for it as a Christians. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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