Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I took a sick leave to stay home because my throat hurt so badly last night that I could hardly talk. I had developed coughing because of weather changes during the trip, and was not fully recovered after I returned. I believe this is another symptom of a bad cold. I feel a little better this morning. Pray that I will be well enough for my weekend ministry. I need to preach on Sunday, and lead worship at a special event that will be held in Gospel Operation International on Sunday afternoon. For those of you who are in town, I invite you to join this Missions Carnival – singing, sharing, booth games and much more. It is a vision sharing event designed in a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. The event will start at 3 pm on Sunday. Hope you will find time to join us.
I was fascinated by the title of today’s devotional by Oswald Chambers: “Make a habit of having no habits.” Let’s see what he has to say.
"If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:8). When we begin to form a habit we are conscious of it. There are times when we are conscious of becoming virtuous and patient and godly, but it is only a stage; if we stop there we shall at most behave like a moral and spiritual scholar. The right thing to do with habits is to lose them in the life of the Lord, until every habit is so practised that there is no conscious habit at all. Our spiritual life continually resolves into introspection because there are some qualities we have not added as yet. Ultimately the relationship is to be a completely simple one.
Your god may be your little Christian habit, the habit of prayer at stated times, or the habit of Bible reading. Watch how your Father will upset those times if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes - I can't do that just now, I am praying; it is my hour with God. No, it is your hour with your habit. There is a quality that is lacking in you. Recognize the defect and then look for the opportunity of exercising yourself along the line of the quality to be added.
Love means that there is no habit visible, you have come to the place where the habit is lost, and by practice you do the thing unconsciously. If you are consciously holy, there are certain things you imagine you cannot do, certain relationships in which you are far from simple; that means there is something to be added. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there anywhere where you are not at home with God? Let God press through in that particular circumstance until you gain Him, and life becomes the simple life of a child.
I totally agree with brother Chambers’ perspective on spiritual habit. When a habit becomes part of you, you will not be conscious of it at all. It is like the habit of turning off house light before you leave the house and knock the door behind you as soon as you exit. It becomes so natural that you may not even remember doing it when you are asked. The goal of spiritual discipline is to make our communication with God a part of our natural life like breathing and drinking. I guess if we were to ask our Lord how He knew the will of God when he walked on earth, He may have difficulty to explain because it is part of His Nature. I believe our Lord will have a hard time to explain why He loves us too becasue He is love. Being totally human,
I don’t think our Lord was born differently than you and me. He simply began the habit of developing intimate realtionship with his Creator God early in life. I like the way childhood Jesus answered his parents’ question when they found him in the Temple (Luke 2:49), “Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Jesus was so at home with His Heavenly Father that he was confused why his parents complained against him to be "at home." It was like“why not staying at home?” To Jesus, there was no explanation necessary for questions like “why pray?” or “why do you study the Bible?” It is just a natural part of him to do so. Luke continued to describe the growth of this special Child of God in one sentence, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Luke gives us the insight that balanced growth of a person derives from his intimate relationship with the Creator God on a daily basis. And people will soon notice how special this person is: healthy, wise, friendly, lovely and godly in a joyous and natural manner.
Let’s make it our life goal to draw close to God each day to the point of not being conscious of such habit like the way we breathe. Hopefully, one day when we look back, we may be surprised of how much we have grown in Christ and enjoyed it.
Love you not out of habit,