Welcome back to the Health for the Spirit, Soul, and Body blog! As we embark on the journey into this new year, it’s a prime opportunity to reflect on our spiritual journey thus far. There’s a profound saying: ‘If you sow a thought, you will reap an action; sow an action, and you will reap a habit; sow a habit, and you will reap a character; sow a character, and you will reap a destiny.’ Amidst our daily hustle and bustle, our spiritual lives can stagnate if not nurtured intentionally. In these busy times, the importance of incorporating spiritual growth habits becomes paramount. These habits are vital in shaping a spiritual life that reflects our deepest values and aspirations.
What is a Habit?
A habit can be defined as a settled or regular tendency or practice, particularly one that is hard to give up. This term can also encompass addictive behaviors, such as drug use. Metaphorically, a habit is like a seed. Initially small and seemingly insignificant, it can, with consistent nurturing and care, grow into a robust tree, steadfast in the face of life’s challenges. In the context of our spiritual lives as Christians, habits are like seeds sown in the fertile ground of our hearts. Practiced consistently, these habits have the potential to lead to profound transformations in our spiritual growth.
I remember a time in my life when I struggled with consistency in reading the Bible. Despite my best intentions, I found myself giving up after a certain point. However, I made a decision to develop a simple habit: to read one chapter of the Bible every day, no matter what. This habit has not only helped me complete the entire Bible once every three and half years, but it has also deepened my understanding of God’s word and made me more confident in my faith.
Discussion on Seven Habits
Each of these habits - Prayer, Worship, Thanksgiving, Fellowship, Bible Study, Fasting, and Meditation on Scripture - plays a crucial role in our spiritual growth. They are like the different exercises in a workout routine, each targeting a specific aspect of our spiritual health.
· Prayer: Prayer is our direct line of communication with God. It’s not just about asking for things, but also about expressing our gratitude, seeking guidance, and simply spending time in His presence. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
· Worship: Worship is our response to God’s love. In worship, we acknowledge His greatness and express our love for Him through songs, praises, and living a life that honors Him. Psalms 29:2 KJV Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
· Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving involves cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It is recognizing God’s blessings in our lives and expressing our gratitude to Him. Psalms 100:4 KJV Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
· Fellowship: Fellowship is building relationships with other believers. It involves encouraging one another, learning from each other, and growing together in faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
· Bible Study: Bible Study is diving deeper into God’s word. It involves understanding His teachings and applying them in our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
· Fasting: Fasting involves self-control and discipline. It’s about denying our physical desires to focus more on our spiritual needs. Matthew 6:17-18 KJV But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; (18) That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
· Meditation on Scripture: Meditation on Scripture is pondering on God’s word. It involves letting His teachings sink into our hearts and minds and allowing them to shape our thoughts and actions. Psalms 119:15 KJV I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
Habits that have helped me spiritually.
A habit that significantly aided me as a young Christian was one I developed to ensure consistent prayer. During my residency program, finding sufficient time for prayer was challenging. The best time I had for prayer was at night before sleeping, but I often found myself falling asleep instead of praying. Several times, I woke up around 4 a.m., still kneeling beside my bed, having dozed off during prayer. To overcome this, I developed a habit where I decided to complete my prayers before having dinner. No matter what I was doing, whether I was hungry or not, I made sure to pray before dinner. Since it was difficult for me to sleep without having my dinner, this approach helped me prioritize prayer. As a result, I found that my prayer life improved tremendously.
One habit I’ve cultivated to enhance my consistency in prayer is the practice of ‘lightning’ or ‘arrow’ prayer. This concept emerged from a quality decision I made: whenever I face a challenge, encounter something beyond my understanding, or need to respond to a difficult question, I pause for a brief moment—perhaps one or two seconds—and offer a prayer silently, inaudible to those around me. In these moments of silent petition, I place my trust in the Lord, seeking His guidance and wisdom. Then, fortified by this brief communion with God, I confront the situation or provide my answer. This technique is a practical application of the apostle Paul’s exhortation to believers to ‘pray without ceasing,’ as he instructs in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. It’s a reminder that in every moment, even the briefest of pauses, we can seek and find the Lord’s presence and guidance.
Another habit that has enriched my journey in faith is the weekly practice of praise and worship with my family. This routine has significantly bolstered my personal commitment to consistent worship. Admittedly, I may not possess a melodious singing voice, nor do I always find myself spontaneously engaging in praise or worship. Yet, there is something profoundly transformative about these family gatherings. In the shared presence of my family, praising and worshipping the Lord becomes not only easier but deeply fulfilling. It’s during these moments of collective devotion that I truly understand the power of communal worship. This family tradition has instilled in me a steadfast rhythm of praising and worshipping God, reminding me of the unity and strength we find in Him when we come together in His name.
Our weekly family gatherings have also been instrumental in nurturing within me a heart of consistent thanksgiving. As a younger believer, I often struggled with expressing gratitude to God. My focus was frequently on unmet goals or the testimonies yet to be realized, overshadowing the myriad ways God had already blessed me. However, our family tradition, where each member shares testimonies and expresses gratitude for God’s work in their lives over the past week, has profoundly shifted my perspective. This practice compels me to reflect on and recognize God’s hand in my life, preparing my heart to see and celebrate His goodness. As a result, I have found a growing sense of gratitude, a deepening appreciation for the everyday blessings, and a more profound recognition of God’s grace and favor. This shift has been a significant step in my spiritual growth, teaching me the true essence of thankfulness in every circumstance.
As we close this journey through the Seven Habits to Improve Your Spiritual Life in 2024 — prayer, worship, thanksgiving, fellowship, Bible study, fasting, and meditation on scripture — I invite you to take a moment of introspection. Which of these habits resonates most with you? How can you integrate it more deeply into your daily routine? Your growth in faith is a continuous journey, and adopting even one of these habits can bring profound changes to your spiritual life. I challenge you to commit to one habit starting today and share your choice and plan of action in the comments. Let us inspire and support each other in this journey of faith. Your story could be the catalyst for someone else’s spiritual renewal. Let’s grow together in our walk with God in 2024.
Remember, every small step in faith is a leap in our spiritual growth. As you walk through this year, let each day be a canvas for these habits to paint a richer, more vibrant picture of your walk with God. Whether it’s through a moment of prayer, a song of worship, an act of thanksgiving, fellowship with others, diligent Bible study, a period of fasting, or meditating on His Word, let each habit weave into the fabric of your daily life, enriching and deepening your relationship with the Lord.
And as you embark on this journey, I encourage you to not just keep these experiences to yourself. Share your stories, your struggles, and your victories in the comments section below. Your insights could be a source of inspiration and encouragement to others. As we share, we create a community of faith that supports and uplifts one another, a true testament to the power of fellowship.
So, as we step forward into 2024, let's do so with intention and purpose. Let's cultivate these seven habits, not just as individual practices, but as integral parts of our spiritual journey, transforming not only our lives but also those around us. And let's come back here, to our little corner of the internet, to share and celebrate our progress together.
May this year be one of profound spiritual growth and joyous discovery in your walk with God. Until next time, may His peace and blessings be upon you.
God bless you.