Day 6: The Power of Habits
“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits” - William James
“…habit overcomes habit.” – Thomas Aquinas
THE PARADOX OF HABITS
Last week, we learned that we are saved by grace. Our salvation is completely the result of the work of God in our lives through Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. This week, we discover that we are not only saved by God’s grace, but that we are also shaped by it.
Even though we are shaped by God’s grace, we get to choose whether to be active or apathetic in the process. When we choose to cooperate with God, our spiritual growth comes faster and has deeper influence. Conversely, when we choose the lackadaisical path, our growth is sporadic and stays at the surface level.
This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote,
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. - Philippians 2:12–13 (NIV)
Paul is telling us that we are to “work out” our salvation within the reality of God’s active work inside of us. He makes the changes, but we provide the access.
We create space through spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are habits that open us up to what God is already doing within us. Even though there is no intrinsic power in these habits, they create an environment that activates God’s power to effect real change in us. Dallas Willard says spiritual disciplines…
“put us where he can work within us and transform us. By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
That’s what this week’s sessions are all about: actively creating space for God’s grace. The key to disciplines is action. Disciplines are habits we do, not attitudes we hold. They require intention and commitment. At the same time, we never participate in disciplines because we have to. The moment that spiritual practices turn into obligation is the same moment relationship with God turns into religion.
Therefore, before we begin, spend some time in prayer about your willingness to cooperate with God’s grace through spiritual disciplines.
Spend 5 to 15 minutes in prayer about the following:
- Praise God for His desire for you to be filled with and changed by grace
- Talk with Him about your own desire to receive His changing grace
Read John 6
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did you learn about God?
- What will do differently based upon what you read?
Read the following passage out loud. Repeat it five times. Make sure to say the verse address both before and after the passage
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Self-reflection: What have you intentionally done so far to activate God’s power in your life?
Spiritual disciplines have been part of the Christian experience since the very beginning. Read Acts 2:42-47. What are some of the activities that you observe them doing?
What happened as the result (vs. 47)?
Read verse 42 again. It says the believers were devoted to certain practices. How would you rate your own devotion to the same practices? Are there other habits in your life to which you are devoted?
This week we are going to focus on four habits that are foundational means of receiving God’s grace. Look up each of these verses and answer the following questions:
Bible - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I need to devote myself to the Bible because ______________________________
Prayer – Luke 11:1-4
I need to devote myself to prayer because ______________________________
Worship – Romans 12:1
I need to devote myself to worship because ______________________________
Community – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
I need to devote myself to community because ______________________________
Spend about 5 minutes in prayer about the following:
- Thank God that He is always devoted to us
- Ask for His help to overcome the things that get in the way of your devotion