Habits are actions that have become natural to us because of continued repetition. They have become a part of us and we now do them without thinking.
Research has shown that it takes 21 days to fully cultivate a new habit because 21 days is the time required to form new pathways in the brain. If you do something in a new way, every day for 21 days, without missing a day, the brain is forced to make new pathways to process the action in the new way. This is useful, both for forming good habits, and for breaking bad ones.
A few habits of effective Christians that each of us should labour to cultivate include the following:
1.A habit of prayer – Dan 6:4-10b “he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Evidently, Daniel had cultivated a habit of praying three times each day prior to this time.
One of the things that I find to be useful in maintaining a habit of prayer is for one to have a specific place and a specific time. If you are completely in control of your time, you may choose to pray at 5am on some days, 3pm on other days, and 6pm on others. You are less likely to pray regularly if you vary your time of prayer than if you have a fixed time for praying, say 6am every day. If you don’t fix a time, the course of your day would often determine whether or not you pray, and prayer time is more likely to be compromised in favour of other activities. It helps to critically appraise one’s day and to determine when the best time of the day is, preferably a time that is least likely to be affected by a day that goes bad, and to commit this time to having one’s quiet time.
You’re also more likely to pray if you don’t pray in different places each day.
Genesis 19: 27- And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD.
Abraham had a place where he regularly stood before the Lord.
You should not refuse to pray because something cropped up that took you away from your regular place but having a specific place helps to contribute towards ensuring you meet this important appointment with the Lord each day.
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus had a time, and he looked for a solitary place, to avoid distractions. It is called the quiet time because it ought to be done with as little distraction as possible.
It helps to make a habit of the place and the time where you fellowship with the Lord. Don’t pray at different places and at different times each day, the consistency helps to establish prayer as a habit.
2.A habit of reading God’s Word and obeying it. Paul was writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3: 14 when he said, “But as for you, continue in the things you have learned and firmly believed, since you know from whom you learned them. 15From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Timothy had been a friend of God’s word from his infancy.
We know from James 1: 22-25 only hearers and doers are blessed by God’s word. Not matter how much of God’s word you learn, if you don’t act upon it, it cannot make any difference in your life. A successful Christian life is as a result of one being willing to quickly change one’s position if offered a different view by God’s word. God’s word should be final authority in a Christian’s life.
3.A habit of going to Church – Hebrews 10: 24-25: “And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and to good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
There may be a televangelist out there who has had a great impact on your Christian life but to declare that you no longer need a local pastor (or your local assembly) because you receive enough nourishment by television is being unwise.
The successful televangelist that you admire may not even be aware of your existence in this world so he cannot keep you accountable or offer you support if you were to be caught in a fault. The televangelist is a brother that is far off, there are many times and situations where he would be of far less value to you than a fellow brother or sister in the Lord who attends the same assembly as you (Proverbs 27:10).
Jesus had a custom of going to church regularly (Luke 4: 16, Matthew 26:55). Paul also had a habit of going to church regularly (Acts 17:2, Acts 17:17). Both of these role models for successful Christian life have the habit of going to church.
4.A habit of soul-winning– 2 Corinthians 5:18- And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
Preaching the gospel and winning souls is one ministry that has been committed into the hands of every Christian. We should regularly look out for and target specific persons that we can preach the gospel to, disciple or impact for good in their Christian walk.
Proverbs 11:30b- He that wins souls is wise