Do you want to be productive in God’s economy? Then, your primary aim is to do this: live faithfully.
Jesus said faithful living is loving God (Matthew 22:36-37), loving others (Matthew 22:39, John 15:12), and doing the work God’s called you to do (John 15:8 & 16).
You can’t do this on our own. You need God’s power to transform your life. However, God gives you free will, so you can choose to pursue his way (Philippians 2:12-13, Galatians 5:16-25).
One way you pursue God’s way is through your habits. And I’m not just talking about your spiritual habits (which are totally important by the way).
If you want to grow in faithfulness so that you can experience true productivity, here are two types of habits you need to cultivate.
#1: SCHEDULED HABITS
Scheduled habits are repeated actions that you choose to take at a specific moment in time. You decided what to do, when to do it, and how long to do it. Basically, you run the show.
Scheduled habits support faithful living because they are how you regularly and repeatedly invest in God’s agenda.
Here are some examples. You can:
- cultivate an intimate relationship with God by scheduling time for Bible study and prayer each day.
- complete a project God has given you the opportunity to do by blocking out two afternoons a week for focused work.
To build a scheduled habit:
- Ask yourself, What repeated action would help me love God, love others, or work toward a prayed over goal? Better yet, ask God to help you answer the question.
- Once you’ve identified the habit, decide when, how often, and for how long (if applicable) you’ll practice it.
- Write the habit in your planner as if it’s an appointment or meeting.
- Increase your consistency by using a habit tracker or anchoring the habit to something you already do without fail.
#2: INTENTIONAL RESPONSE HABITS
When people talk about habits, they are usually referring to scheduled habits. But there’s another type of habit you also need to cultivate: intentional response habits.
Response habits are your reactions to everyday situations or feelings. They happen automatically, all day long, and are triggered by events, often outside of your control.
These habits are critical to faithful living because how you respond to life challenges either promotes love and what matters, or it promotes sin and being stuck.
- You feel stressed. Do you eat chocolate or pray for God’s peace (Phil 4:6-7)?
- Our spouse forgets to start the dishwasher again. Do you give a patient reminder or yell (James 1:19-20)?
- A meeting full of meetings leaves you feeling drained? Do you seek God or visit the vending machine for a caffeine pick-me-up (Isaiah 40:31)?
Only Jesus is perfect. So, don’t wallow in shame over automatic responses you don’t like. Instead, embrace the good news: You can train your responses to be more Christ-like.
- Identify an automatic response you want to change.
- Pray about it! We must always seek God for transformation.
- Map out the new response you want to have to the situation. Put it in writing and make it as concrete as possible.
- Cultivate this new response by reminding yourself of it and practicing it. This is the hard work and the change will take time. Habit change doesn’t happen overnight. But if you’re faithful, you will see change.
PUTTING IT INTO ACTION
If you really want to do what matters, you must plan and nurture scheduled and response habits.
Here are some a few more blog posts that can help you with this:
- What Christian Women Need to Achieve Their Goals
- How to Make a New Spiritual Habit Stick
- How to Evaluate Your Habits & Goal Progress as a Christian
- Use Your Planner to Make Scripture Memorization a Habit
If you want more support building spiritual and personal habits that stick, get our 5-lesson MAKE YOUR HABITS STICK devotional workbook. It will you turn your good intentions into real action. Just sign-up to get it for FREE using the box below.
Faithfulness is a journey. Let’s lean on God and use our power of choice to grow more and more like Jesus each day.