Bible Lessons About How to Build Good Habits
The Bible is a spiritual scripture, so it’s not the greatest “how-to” manual. It has quite a lot to say about “why,” but it’s quite thin on how to. However, a diligent reader can read between the lines. And I already possessed a wide knowledge of habits, so it was easy for me to pick up some nuggets.
Sirach 19: 1b
One who makes light of small matters will gradually sink.
Sirach 11: 32a
A hearthful of glowing coals starts from a single spark.
Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.
When it comes to biology, an activity of reading books for five hours a day or drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning are habits. If they are repeatable in similar circumstances, they are stored in your brain in a habit loop. It’s not the size of a habit that matters. It’s consistency.
Starting small is easy. By starting small you can learn the skill of creating new habits. You don’t start a fire from a firestorm. You start it from a single spark.
Never ever discount small habits! They are the fabric of your life and make you who you are. They are extremely important!
Start small and scale it up (trustworthy in great things).
Building Habits Takes Some Effort
1 Corinthians 6: 12
‘For me everything is permissible’; maybe, but not everything does good. True, for me everything is permissible, but I am determined not to be dominated by anything.
John 12: 25
Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Take a look at this chart:
“What’s uncomfortable early, becomes comfortable later:” this is a statement which aptly describes building good habits. Yes, you can modify your good habits to make them easier. Yes, you can engineer your environment to support you.
Nope, they will never be as comfy as bad habits. You don’t get a shot of dopamine when you clean your room. You don’t get this yummy taste in your mouth when you fast for hours.
You must exercise some self-discipline at the beginning to reap the fruits later.
Oh, and there is an additional lesson in “I am determined not to be dominated by anything.” Good habits can be dangerous too; in two ways:
-they put you on autopilot and you stop growing; this danger is real, but less damaging.
-you take excessive pride in your habits; which will make you an arrogant ass*ole in human interactions. And when you unavoidably fail, your self-image can take a devastating blow.
Proverbs 23: 16
For though the upright falls seven times, he gets up again; the wicked are the ones who stumble in adversity.
2 Corinthians 12: 9c
(…) for power is at full stretch in weakness.
James 1: 12
Blessed is anyone who perseveres when trials come. Such a person is of proven worth and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
If nothing else, take this lesson to your heart: habits are ALL about consistency. So, not only you need to go out of your comfort zone, you need to do it again and again. Regularly.
Failure is included in the experience of building habits. This is also out of our comfort zone: to consciously decide to sacrifice our ego. If you start building good habits, you must fail. It’s part of the process. Even if you are amazingly consistent (which trait is rarer than being handsome, self-disciplined, intelligent, or ANY other; consistency is the rhodium among character traits), you will fail at one time or another.
My friends nicknamed me Mr. Consistency. Since the 23rd September of 2013, I wrote every day… but twice. Nobody is perfect in this world.
Usually, you will fail the most at the beginning. But this is where power is at full stretch. You burn out the flaws of your ego. You emerge stronger from this experience. You learn that it’s OK, as long as you learn from experience.
James 2: 20
Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless?
Habits are all about action. It’s fine and good to prepare, plan, study and visualize. But without action, the consistent action, it is all in vain. Do your habit. Build a streak. You will learn by action, not by theorizing.
Matthew 18: 20
For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.
There are better quotes in the Bible about this which literally talk about accountability. I just had no time to dig them out.
Nonetheless, I think this is a great illustration of the concept. When two or three people gather and they have the same agenda, miracles happen. There are not anymore a few puny people, there is a spark of divine power among them.
There were zillion studies done about accountability. It works because we are relational creatures. Invite one person to your habit-building quest, whether a friend, a coach, or a mentor and your chances for success will skyrocket.
Isolation is the enemy of excellence. Accountability is its ally.
For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he has.
Galatians 6: 9
And let us never slacken in doing good; for if we do not give up, we shall have our harvest in due time.
Look at The Slight Edge chart again:
Habits compound. That’s their nature. That’s their reward.
In fact, the true reward is in who you will become with your good habits. This is the true secret of good habits. You will have your harvest not because you will have your habits. That’s only the cause, the prerequisite.
You will have your harvest because of who you will become – a person worthy of the reward. That’s the ultimate effect of good habits.