Carlos Santana, famous Latin American rock guitarist, once said, “Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life as a victim of my habits. As we think about the holy habits that we must work on, we’ve seen nine which I’m focusing on. Your list might be different than mine, but most of the ones I’ve mentioned, it seems to me, ought to mark every believer in Jesus.
Let me review the nine briefly before I talk about the tenth. I need to be into God’s Word on a daily basis and I need to give myself to a life of serious prayer! I need to work on an attitude of thankfulness and pursue the discipline of solitude with the Lord. I want to share Jesus with others and grow in my understanding of how to be a true friend. I want to be quick to forgive and be marked by a spirit of submission to the Lord. I know I need to be more willing to apologize when I’ve wronged someone.
The tenth habit that I’m working on is regularly taking stock of where I am in my Christian walk. This kind of self-diagnosis has its limits, but I need to ask myself if I’m making any progress in the set of habits we’ve discussed. The philosopher William James put it this way: “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.” We are certainly much more than “mere walking bundles of habits,” but we are not less. Our habits show our hearts.
Asking myself how I’m doing is a step in the right direction. Asking others how I’m doing is risky and painful, but will give me issues to work on! We all know the fruit of the Spirit, right? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are virtues which may be adopted into our lives — and worked on! Asking myself, how am I doing when it comes to, for example, self-control, is a habit that keeps me from acting like a victim and making a lot of excuses!