WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 30, 2023
TOPIC: CULTIVATE GOOD HABITS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 New King James Version).
A habit is “a thing that you do often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop doing (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary). Different things have been said about how long it takes to form a habit. But one thing certain is that it takes repeating an action over a period before it becomes a habit.
A good habit can be cultivated just as a bad habit can. Whichever one cultivates determines one’s future. Your habits will make you or break you. Whoever desires a good future should not cultivate bad habits. But whoever cultivates bad habits and hopes to have a good future, lives in self-delusion. The good thing is that one can break bad habits by cultivating good ones. Cultivating new habits and replacing bad habits with good habits is not always easy but possible. Examples abound. A child of God can depend on the help of the Holy Spirit in building good habits.
James 1:21 says, “So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you” (Good News Translation). A filthy habit and the Holy Spirit indwelling a believer are incompatible.
If you want to cultivate good habits, watch your company. Those you associate with can make you cultivate good habits or bad habits. A bad company can corrupt good habits and influence you to cultivate bad habits. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (New King James Version).
Are there good habits that have been corrupted in you? Or are there new bad habits that you have learnt from others? Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Don’t make friends with people who have hot, violent tempers. You might learn their habits and not be able to change” (Good News Translation). What bad habits do you know you should stop and new habits that you should cultivate to replace them? You can only break a bad habit by replacing it with a new habit. What is stopping you from doing so? Unless you do the right thing, you will miss the benefits.
What are your habits? Referring to Jesus, Luke 22:39 says, “And He came out and went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed Him” (Luke 22:39 Amplified Bible). Jesus used to go there to pray. This is a good habit to emulate. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (New International Version). That refers to His habit. Do you have the habit of private prayer or solitude like Jesus? (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; 1:35; Luke 6:12; 11:1).
Also, Acts 17:2a shows a good habit: “According to his usual habit Paul went to the synagogue” (Today’s English Version). However, some people have the habit of visiting beer parlours, clubhouses, casinos, and other places that do not contribute to realizing a good future. The Bible says of Jesus, “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read” (Luke 4:16 New International Version). The phrase “his custom” refers to His habit.
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells believers, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 New International Version). Note this phrase: as some are in the habit of doing. Some people have the habit of not going to church, praying, reading their Bibles, showing gratitude, forgiving others, saying sorry, or exercising.
Derive your habits from the Word of God. Your habits must be consistent with what the Bible approves of. Your habits must not be against holiness. 1 Peter 1:15 says as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. It must pass the test of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
1 Timothy 5:13, in the New International Version, refers to “the habit of being idle.” Idleness is not a habit that will make anyone great in life. Ecclesiastes 10:18 says because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.
Some people desire to succeed in life but have a habit of laziness; yet, diligence is a constant in an equation of success. Such people must break the habit of laziness by cultivating diligence. “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession” (Proverbs 12:27 New King James Version).
Proverbs 20:4 says, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing” (New King James Version). Everyone will reap whatever he sows (Galatians 6:7). Whoever is diligent in his business shall stand before kings, not mean men (Proverbs 22:29).
What future do you dream for yourself? Cultivate good habits that will make it become a reality, including truthfulness, thankfulness, joyfulness, reading and obeying the Word of God, praying and fasting, and witnessing for Christ. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 New King James Version).
Be specific about the habit you want to cultivate – make your goal very clear. Pray about your goal and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, start with small steps daily, be consistent, don’t be discouraged if you record any failure or setback, be patient with yourself, and have someone to report to, support you, and monitor your progress.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I come against any destructive habit in my life. My life will not be destroyed in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to cultivate good habits in place of bad ones. Help me also to develop new habits that will help me to realize God’s purpose for my life.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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