Make Good Habits

Ed Miskovic, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | December 1, 2023

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
2 Peter 1:5-8

Sister Ambrose, with thick arms folded across her black habit, looked into my eyes only; it seemed.  In her eighties, my eighth-grade teacher tapped her cane against a cast iron desk, asking, “What is the easiest thing in the world to make but the hardest thing to break?” I looked away. Silence. My eyes followed the hem of her black habit as she slow-walked to the blackboard, picked up a piece of white chalk, and wrote in all caps. HABITS! 

“Remember,” she said, “always make good habits, not bad habits. Bad habits are very hard to break, so don’t make them.” An example of a good habit is brushing one’s teeth. Forming good dental hygiene habits takes effort, and they add many health benefits. In a similar way, we can add to our spiritual health by forming habits that Jesus practiced.

Forming habitual ways of listening to God helps us do what Peter advises: “Make every effort to add to your faith, goodness.” They are intentional first steps to becoming more Christ-like, more surrendered to our heavenly Father’s will and experiencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. About nurturing the list of spiritual traits, Peter says, “They will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This “knowledge” is beyond ideas. It is the experience of the life of Christ within your everyday life. Paul sums it up, “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

I don’t know how Jesus cleaned his teeth, or what his personal hygiene habits were, but from Scripture, we know many of his spiritual practices or habits. Clearly, there are many examples of Jesus talking to God in prayer (Gethsemane, for one), and of his studying the scriptures.  As a boy, he sat among the teachers in the temple and asked them questions (Luke 2:46). Likewise, we have Rooted at Willow to learn about spiritual practices from which to form habits: memorizing bible verses, praying for one another, telling our story, and more. 

Jesus grew in awareness of his father’s presence (Luke 2:52). He nurtured spiritual habits and disciplines, such as going to be alone to pray.  Peter’s strong advice is for us to know Jesus in our lives by being aware of these spiritual traits within us. Habits of praying and reading  Scripture are two that will soften our resistance to surrender to our Father’s will. But there are other practices– thinking habits of self-awareness, observation, and looking for the hand of God also lead to opportunities to surrender to His ways.

Next Steps   

  • Consider forming some good habits. It’s a way to add an awareness of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Willow Creek app has a section called DAILY,  which has prompts for practicing gratitude, praying for others, and reading scripture journaling. “Keep Going! Continue practicing your daily habits.”
  • It’s not too late to sign up for the Digital Advent Experience. Every Sunday of Advent, you’ll receive an email with a devotional, prayers for the week, and an activity. We hope you will join us and sign up here