According to a recent survey, the top two New Year’s resolutions for Americans are to lose weight and to exercise more; both broken within 30 days. My son prefers setting goals to making resolutions for if you fail to keep resolutions, you tend to give up, but if it’s a goal, you can continue pursuing them. I have discovered, however, that to set holy habits for the New Year has helped me achieve better than resolutions or goals. Among the holy habits I am focusing on this year is to study the Scriptures an additional hour daily.
My motivation to read and study the Scriptures has been triggered by three Scriptures.
The truth given to the prophet Ezekiel 3:3, 4: “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it. So I ate . . . He then said to me, ‘Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them’.” We are only prepared to communicate his truth, in my case, to write about his truth, when our minds are full of his words and our hearts are prepared by his words to share him.
Psalm 119:20 burdens me to experience the reality that “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” A high order. But that’s the holy habit I am pursuing this year. It will come gradually as I read, study, memorize, and meditate on his laws. My weakness will be memorizing, especially the references. My mind doesn’t hold them as it used to.
Last year as I studied the Book of Job, 23:12 burned into my heart: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” I confess it will be a challenge to pursue that holy habit. But what a habit to form!
Psychologists suggest that it takes only twenty-two consecutive days to establish a habit. Knowing me, it’s going to take me much longer.
So readers, let’s join together in pursuit of our holy habits. Maybe we need to pray more, serve in our churches more, establish a daily devotional time, share our faith more, help others more, or even read the Bible through this year. These holy habits will not only help us individually but the body of Christ as well so that we experience the reality of strengthening spiritual muscles for ourselves and in our churches to make them power houses for worship, growth, outreach, and discipleship. Our communities will benefit from Jesus being alive and well and active in his people.