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Lessons From Animals--"Habit"

"Besides, they get into the habit…"
1 Timothy 5:13a


There's a new dog in the house! Before you get too excited, it's temporary. I'm dog-sitting. A friend has gone out of town, and left in my care her special friend, Brandy.

The reactions of the cats were interesting. Squawker's face said it all: "You've got to be kidding me--we're doing this AGAIN?" Sneezy, on the other hand, seemed downright delighted to have a dog in the house. He immediately chirped and walked up to Brandy--"Hi! Welcome to the house! Let me sniff you!" Brandy, unfortunately, is not used to cats--and didn't quite appreciate this strange creature coming up to her.

Even more telling, though, has been my reaction. When Kasey and Annie were part of our home, I would wake up in the morning and first thing set out to take them on a walk. When I had been away, I would rush home to see them. That first morning with Brandy, however, was a little different; I'd gotten used to sleeping in, and found it hard to excitedly leash up the dog and rush outside (fortunately, Brandy was far more patient than Kasey and Annie ever were!). I also started a new job while she was here, and that first day after work I was physically exhausted--and cringed at the thought of walking up three flights of stairs, getting Brandy, walking down three flights of stairs, taking her for a walk, and then walking back up three flights of stairs. But it had to be done--she'd been in the room all day long! To put things bluntly: I've gotten out of the habit of having a dog.

Yet I've noticed my spiritual disciplines are much the same. It's easy to get out of the habit of praying, or attending worship. In fact, Hebrews 10:25a speaks to this very matter: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…" A music teacher once said, "Practice doesn't make perfect--it makes permanent." Sometimes we get into bad habits; and the more we do them, the easier (and more permanent) they become. Found yourself using some profanity lately? If you don't stop yourself now, it will keep on coming (and you might even stop noticing it). Sometimes we fall out of good habits; and the less we do them, the easier (and more permanent) their absence becomes. Did you use to attend church regularly, but now you've missed the last few Sundays? Watch out--you're falling out of a good habit. Sometimes we don't do what God desires--we've either gotten out of the habit, or we never had the habit to begin with.

In Matthew 7:24 - 27, Jesus likens this to building a house:


"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."


The Apostle Paul says something similar in Philippians 4:8 - 9--"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things [or--get into those habits!]. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Develop some good practices. Obey the Lord; love people. And once you've developed those practices, don't fall out of the habit. Some habits are good to keep.


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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Last modified date: January 1, 2018