Each year many plan their New Year resolutions. Each year resolutions made become resolutions broken. Resolutions are good, but we are not our resolutions. We are our habits.
An anonymous quote I came across several years ago says it all:
Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!
As a pastor, I have conversations with Christians and non-Christians alike regarding their spiritual lives. One of the more consistent conversations revolves around one’s identity or self-perception. We live in a culture that suggests we can be or become whatever we think or dream. The identity crisis that permeates gender and sexuality found its roots in the self-help ideology that believes we can define ourselves, our future, and our successes.
After a recent win for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers articulated a belief in himself and self-fulfillment. He went on to say: “I do believe in the power of manifestation and I do believe in momentum and I believe very strongly in the force of the mind. And when you start to believe something strongly, some miraculous things can happen.”
That’s well and good, but the Packers lost last night agains the Detroit Lions. Manifestation and the force of the mind failed Rodgers and the Packers in a game where a win would get them to the playoffs.
Identity and belief is tremendously important, but not in the way self-help gurus and the identity culture we live in would have us believe.
We are first and foremost who God says we are. This means we are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:28). This truth about identity is for every person on earth regardless of religion, experience, background, or environment.
For those who follow Jesus, we are described as new creatures and the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). While we are sinners by nature, we have been justified by God through Christ (Romans 3:21-26). We have been given the privilege of becoming children of God by faith in Christ (John 1:12). On an on the Bible goes about our identity in Christ.
This is where our habits come to play in our Christian experience. Our habits either support what the Bible says about our identity in Christ or they align with cultural values. Our habits teach and form us. Reading the Word, praying, attending church, memorizing Scripture, being involved in an accountable community, and other disciplines remind us regularly of our identity in Christ and his redeeming and transforming work in our lives. Christians who neglect these spiritually forming habits are in danger of buying into the cultural shortcomings that so pervade education, media, and ideologies.
So in this new year, will you review your habits? Discover whether you’re Bible reading, prayer, and church engagement are adequate to form your faith and walk with Christ spiritually. If you’d like to consider these questions at a deeper level make plans to attend Wilkesboro Baptist during our series on the book of Hebrews. We’re learning what it means to follow Christ who is greater than the patterns, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament. If you’re not in our community, make sure you’re a part of a Bible-believing church with healthy leadership where you can grow in your knowledge of Christ and find accountability for your habits.