Make It a Habit

Last night’s Super Bowl was an exciting game of American football. The outcome was not certain until only 17 seconds were left in the game.

In the final contested play, a New England defensive back stepped in front of a Seattle receiver and intercepted the pass. After the game, the back was asked about the play. He said he couldn’t describe it. Of course, asking people to analyze something in the height of great emotion is pretty stupid, but I bet it’s true that he didn’t know.

His coaches had taught him cues to watch and responses to make. Then they practiced it over and over. It became a habit. He saw the play develop. His muscle memory recognized the situation and acted just as he had been trained.

Paul uses an athletic analogy at the end of chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians. He talks of an athlete disciplining his body. He says he does not run aimlessly nor box by flailing away at the air.

If Paul had read Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit,” he would have understood. Learn to read the “cue;” take action; reap the reward.

That is why spiritually alive people have cultivated habits to keep them spiritually in tune with God.

You rise early in the morning heading toward your favorite chair in order to spend 15 minutes (or more) reading from the Bible or other spiritual work. You follow that with prayer and meditation for a few more minutes.

It is your habit to regularly meet with other seekers. You regularly gather with others to celebrate and worship.

And many more–fasting, living simply, serving others.

Just as a trained athlete acts to win a game, we can act to deepen our spiritual lives.

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