With Jesus in the gazebo.
My mom recently had thick carpet removed from the spare bedroom, showing the original hardwood floor. Even knowing that the carpet is gone, every time I walk in that room my brain expects to step onto carpet, causing me to clunk my foot down.
The nature of a habit is that we generally don’t notice it, and the missing carpet led me to wondering about spiritual habits. What are our spiritual habits? The obvious ones are easy to see, like God-time, reading our Bible, or morning devotions. One form of spiritual habits depends on our physical location, for example, when I’m enjoying Jesus in the gazebo, on my futon, or having breakfast with him.
There are also spiritual habits that are so ingrained they’ve become who we are, regardless of place or time. Walking daily with Jesus means we want to cultivate these habits, practicing enough that they’re an automatic response.
Hanging out with Jesus.
Since habits aren’t obvious, before writing this I had to spend a day thinking about what some of mine were, and one that doesn’t take a physical place is that when my heart hurts I spiritually run to Jesus, saying, “Hold me!” (even if it’s several times a day). I don’t need to remind myself to turn to Jesus, it’s an natural reaction. Another spiritual habit is that much of the time I’m conscious that Jesus is with me, not only aware of him but enjoying and interacting with him. Recently I was driving and the clouds were unusually beautiful and I exclaimed out loud, “Jesus look! Look at the clouds, they’re beautiful! No, I mean REALLY look, I know you see everything but right here, right now, specifically LOOK at these particular clouds, aren’t they wonderful? You made them!” Talking to Jesus is an automatic response for me.
One habit I’ve been working to develop is of being constantly aware of the people around me, asking Holy Spirit if he wants me to speak to someone. I’m not there yet, as a while back I went shopping at Kohls, determining on the way to be listening to Holy Spirit while I shopped, yet from the moment I walked in the door I forgot about it, only remembering my plan days later.
Sometimes we develop negative spiritual habits but we don’t realize they’re there until something calls attention to them. Once, at the end of a spiritual “boot camp” that Terry and I were teaching, a man told how he had gotten in the rut of believing that his way of hearing God was through songs and lyrics. He hadn’t realized until then how limiting that was.
Breakfast with Jesus.
To create a habit you need to perform it until it’s second-nature. There are things you can do that help, for example, when I wanted to become more aware of Jesus I would set my phone alarm for six times throughout my day, and every time it went off I mentally stopped what I was doing and focused on Jesus, listening and being aware of him. Another fun way to do the same thing is to write six different colors on slips of paper, then first thing in the morning draw a color. The rest of the day, every time you see that color, stop and focus on Jesus—where he is, what he’s doing or saying, or even to just feel him and know he’s there.
This week try noticing your spiritual habits and be thinking about ones that you’d like to incorporate into who you are. You’ll find that with practice you can develop the spiritual habits that enable you to naturally live a lifestyle of intimacy with Jesus.