By Lucas Hagen, Crosswalk.com
Habit-building has become a big trend in the last few years in the self-development community, and for good reason. The habits that you build now will shape who you become in the future! While these can be great to improve your productivity at work, building strong habits can also help you grow in your relationship with God.
The issue that many run into, however, is trying to build too many habits too quickly, which leads to instant burnout. While it's great to be zealous about improving your life in any area, too much zeal can be counterproductive.
That's why in this article we'll be focusing on micro-habits...things that you can do that are simple, easy, and don't require much time. The kicker is that these habits will yield dividends in your spiritual life for years to come. The return-on-investment for these micro habits is great!
Without further ado, here are four micro-habits that you can implement in your life today that can help you in your spiritual life for years.
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1. Memorize One Verse Each Week
While memorizing Scripture may bring back not-your-best memories of Sunday school or Awana, there is a reason why so many churches teach this to children. Having Scripture memorized is an effective tool in both spiritual growth, as well as spiritual warfare.
By slowly adding to your mental library of Scripture, you will give yourself the tools you need to grow in knowledge of God and His Word. How better to know God more intimately than to commit timeless truths about His nature to memory? Whenever you experience doubts, struggles, or temptations, you are armed with God’s truth to encourage and remind yourself of who God is and who you are.
Furthermore, memorizing Scripture will equip you for the spiritual battles that you will inevitably face. Take Jesus’ example in Matthew 4, as the enemy tempted Him in the wilderness. How did Jesus respond to the lies and temptations of the enemy? He recited Scripture that He had memorized!
If Jesus did it, we should probably do it too.
The enemy will use the same tricks He tried to use against Jesus—to tempt you. He will distort Scripture and lie to you. By having God’s Word both in your head and heart, you will be prepared to defend yourself with the Sword.
Memorizing one verse per week is a micro-habit because it requires very little time. Select a verse each Sunday or Monday (whichever makes you happy), and spend five minutes committing it to memory. Consider writing it down on a sticky note or on your phone. Then, each day, spend two or three minutes reciting the verse and committing it to memory. After about a week, you should know this verse like the back of your hand, and be ready to memorize a new one!
Consider memorizing Romans 8:1 to get yourself started. It is short, simple, and as profound as can be.
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1. Pray during Your Commute to Work
All Christians know that prayer is essential to one’s spiritual growth and relationship with God.
The issue that many, myself included, face is making time for prayer. The key here is not finding new time to pray, but rather committing time that you already have every day as time to pray. I have found that setting aside a few minutes during one’s commute to work can serve as an effective prayer time. You're already in the car driving—meaning you can't spend that time doing anything else besides listening to music/podcasts/audiobooks (which are all great!).
Praying during your commute is also an effective habit because it allows you to bookend your day.
In the morning, spend a few minutes praying over what the day holds. On your way home, look back on your day and pray over what happened. This can be a great way to commit each day to the Lord, as well as serve as a transition between your work-brain and home-brain.
You do not need to spend your entire commute in prayer. Obviously it's easier for someone with a five-minute commute to spend the entire time in prayer than if you have a 45-minute commute. Remember that this is a micro-habit. Focus on just spending a few minutes during your commute in prayer, and as you build the habit, you can focus on increasing the intensity.
Simply focus on developing consistency and making prayer a part of your daily routine as you travel to and from work. You may just find yourself remembering to pray at other times during the day as a result of this habit development.
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3. Ask for Wisdom
My hope is that everyone reading this has a relationship with a mentor, whether it be a parent, coach, pastor, friend, grandparent, etc. Whomever you see regularly can be a great resource for your spiritual development that can often be neglected.
A simple micro-habit you can implement in your life is to seek out a person whom you respect and admire, and talk with them about what challenges you are facing. Ask them for wisdom regarding your situation. You'll never know what helpful insights or advice you could receive if you don't ask.
Again, this does not have to take much time. If you live with older relatives, ask them for wisdom over dinner. If not, a brief 10-minute phone call can provide you with the wisdom and encouragement that you crave to endure through whatever challenges you face.
A common reason for finding oneself in a spiritual rut is the pride that comes with never asking others for help. For whatever reason, God often chooses to speak through His people rather than speaking to people directly.
Give God as many opportunities as possible to speak wisdom into your life by seeking it out from the wise people in your life. As Solomon wrote, “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom” (Prov. 4:7a).
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4. Slowly Read a Great Book
Reading can be a chore for a lot of people. However, there are precious few ways to grow in your faith and knowledge of God that are more effective than reading the wisdom and insight of thousands of years of faithful Christians.
While reading can be an activity that can occupy a ton of time and effort, this does not have to be the case. There are countless books that lend themselves well to sporadic, brief sessions of reading, yet still provide immense value in a short number of pages.
If you're looking to grow in your faith, pick up a book and spend just a few minutes a day reading. Even a few minutes a week will provide you with knowledge and insight about God and the Bible that you may have never had access to any other way. Some great books to look into to get started include Mere Christianity, The Imitation of Christ, The Reason for God, and Confessions.
Developing consistent, godly habits is a great way to grow in faith over time. Rather than zealously trying to incorporate 20 new habits into your morning and evening routines, start by implementing one micro-habit at a time. Over the long run, these will not even feel like habits anymore. Rather, they will become a part of who you are—and you may find yourself in a closer relationship with Christ than you ever thought possible.
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