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Repetition produces New Habits
… a new beginning!
Terry R. Baughman
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
Someone said if you repeat an action for three weeks it becomes a habit. It seems like bad habits are much easier to develop while good ones require more discipline. Nevertheless, the nature of habits are developed by repeated events. The definition of habit is an indication of repetition; it is the tendency to a particular action or practice.
Most commonly we associate a habit with the negative tendencies of our human nature. We may have a tendency to overeat, to indulge in vices, and resort to entertainment that is less than appropriate. However, we can turn bad habits into good ones by simply applying the same principles to proper behaviors. If we brush our teeth the same time everyday it becomes a practice that requires no planning or reminders. It is just something we do everyday. If you want to make your bed every morning all it takes is just to start doing it. After several days, or maybe weeks, it will eventually become second nature and a predictable habit of our daily routine.
Spiritual pursuits can become positive habits as well. If we develop the practice of prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance, we will eventually adopt the behavior as accepted normal activity … a habit.
Granted, these positive habits have to be maintained. When something interrupts your normal schedule for a few days it is easy to become distracted and abandon the good behaviors we previously adopted. Whether it is diet and exercise or prayer and church attendance, all good behaviors require a measure of discipline to develop and the determination to continue as a constructive habit.
One option might be to record daily activities in an app or journal and evaluate each established habit. List those behaviors that should be changed or altered from those that are detrimental and identify other habits that would be more beneficial. Identifying the negative aspects of our lives is often the first step in any effort to adopt new behaviors and develop new habits.
The wisdom of the Proverbs teach the continuation of right response, “My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck” (Proverbs 6:20–21). Those things that we continual revisit, remember, and recite become healthy habits and produce the positive effects of righteous actions.
The Psalms elevate the value of repetition. David sang, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). The continuing praise of our hearts also comes through our mouths and brings glory to God, and becomes a spiritual habit of blessing. Another Psalm said, “My praise shall be continually of You” and, “I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day” (Psalm 71:6, 14–15). As we continue to rehearse the Word of God, His works, and bring praise to His name, the more we will see these positive changes in our lives.
We must continue in the things we have learned and meditate on His Word. A repeated action of righteousness becomes a habit of blessing!
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4 NIV).