I was seventeen years old the first time I got a pair of prescription glasses. I will never forget the moment I put them on. Suddenly, the oak trees in our backyard had texture and movement. I could make out the veins that mapped each individual leaf. I could see birds resting in the branches. The tree went from a steady staple in our backyard’s topography to holding the beauty of an eighth world wonder. I had no clue what I was missing.
When it comes to our habits, we often walk around with blurry vision. You aren’t sure why you scroll social media for half an hour before you wake up, but you do it anyway. You aren’t sure why you take the same route to the grocery store, though there are many to choose from. You aren’t sure why you hit snooze on your alarm twice, just for ten extra minutes of sleep.
We fall into the same habits, the same daily schedules, sometimes with little understanding of why we do what we do.
But here is the thing: The habits we create inform our days, our days inform our weeks, and our weeks inform our year. The habits we commit to set the trajectory for our lives. And so the little moments—the little routines we cultivate—they matter.
That is why we discuss three ways the gospel informs our habits below!
How the Gospel Informs Our Habits
The gospel changes our priorities
The gospel acts as prescription glasses for our habits, giving clarity to our priorities and allowing us to see the areas of life where we are not honoring our God. Suddenly, we can see what matters. We gain a perspective from which to view our lives. We have a clear definition of purpose for our lives—to love God with all our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30–31).
This is the framework in which we reorient our lives; we place Christ as the center from which all else orbits. As we live in surrender to God and His will, we surrender our schedules, our finances, our hopes, and our families as well. Therefore, we submit our habits.
Here are examples of how the gospel may change your priorities:
- Our schedules: You may have to forgo watching your favorite show on Thursday nights in order to make time for small group.
- Our finances: You may need to cut back on subscriptions in order to give to your local church or fund a charity you are passionate about.
- Our daily routines: You may replace your morning social media scrolling with time in prayer.
- Our pleasures: You may replace the secular music you love with Christian music that reminds you to worship throughout the day.
These habits that take hours of our time each week are not simply nixed for the sake of being a “good Christian.” These habits are removed and replaced with better habits, habits that make your life about the worship of God, rather than the worship of self.
The gospel changes our perception of time
As we seek to love God and our neighbors, our perception of time must change too. No longer are there days to be wasted, but days to be made meaningful. We have a responsibility to steward well the time we are given on earth. Ephesians 5:15–16 says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Our time here on earth is limited. We wait patiently to meet Jesus in eternity. But while we wait, we have a job to do. We have good news to share and disciples to make. Therefore, time becomes almost like a currency we choose to spend wisely rather than squander on meaningless pursuits. Time becomes an asset we steward with care.
We begin to see time as a gift and not a guarantee. We begin to see free weekends as an opportunity to disciple our families, friends, and neighbors, rather than time to waste. We begin to understand that intentional stewardship of our time is worship.
But do not be afraid; changing your perception of time does not necessarily mean that your life will change drastically. Instead, the gospel is infused into the areas of your life that you already dwell in. Instead of just driving to preschool, you can practice memorizing Bible verses. Instead of just eating takeout with your roommate, you can ask intentional questions that prompt conversations about God. Instead of scrolling during your lunch break, you can read your Bible. Our lives seem busy and chaotic, but when we intentionally evaluate our time, we will find that they are filled with opportunities to worship.
The gospel frees us to grow
Not only does the gospel give us a fresh perspective through which to see our lives, the Holy Spirit empowers us to want the things of God and to make real changes in our habits. We are not left alone in our pursuit of God. In fact, God tells us that He gives us everything we need “for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). If you know Christ as your Savior, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, convicting you of sin and moving you to repentance.
The Holy Spirit illuminates God’s Word to you, guiding you as you seek to obey Him. The Holy Spirit facilitates our sanctification—the process through which we become more like Christ. Therefore, we are ever-growing as Christians. Our sanctification is a life-long process, one that will continually involve the evaluation of our habits and the cultivation of new habits. As you seek to better love God and your neighbor, remember to give yourself grace in the process. You will always be learning. You will always be refining. This process of evaluating and refining will be repeated throughout the whole of your life. You will continuously grow into the image of your Savior. He will complete within you what He began (Philippians 1:6).
One day, when we finally behold Jesus, our faith will become sight. We will behold Jesus in all of His glory. But until then, we have time to steward and Christlike habits to cultivate. As you move through your day and your week, pay attention to your habits and take a moment to ask yourself, “How does this habit advance the gospel?”
Though refining our habits is hard work, Christ is worthy of the whole of our worship.
More resources for habit cultivation