Habits Take Time

Though we were interrupted Sunday in our current series, First(s) of the Year, we will continue this coming Sunday with a focus on fasting and prayer. This month, it is likely you may feel stretched. As we address prayer/fasting and giving, if these areas are new for you, it may seem like a lot all at once. In fact, sometimes when you listen to a sermon, it is possible to feel overwhelmed or to feel badly, like you aren't doing enough. Sermons can sometimes be like watching a health food or exercise informercial. Everyone looks healthy and happy, and you feel like a shlump because you are nowhere near what was just described on TV. However, this is not the goal of our sermon series, nor is it God's desire.

God knows we all start somewhere, and it is not as important where you are in the journey as it is that you simply start taking steps forward in growth. For example, if you have never had a regular prayer and Bible reading habit, if you start out and do 5 minutes, that might be 5 minutes more than you have ever done before! Celebrate it!

Think of it this way. If you wanted to do the Riverbank Run this spring, but had never run over a mile in your life, would your very first step be to run 3-5 miles?  No! That is why the Riverbank Run has developed running plans where people go from couch potato to runner over the course of several months. The same is true with spiritual habits. So, be kind to yourself. Don't measure your progress by where someone else is. Celebrate even little victories because with each step, you will grow stronger in your walk with Jesus.

For those of you who are farther along in your spiritual journey, I want to challenge you to take new steps, as well, that will stretch you. And, for those of you who used to have a healthier relationship with God but have lost some of that passion and discipline, this series will be a challenge for you to re-engage with the habits that draw you toward God in faith.

If you have not picked up a Pray First prayer guide, stop by the Hub in the entrance. This is a helpful guide to developing a prayer life with suggestions and sample prayers to get you started. I would invite you to read your Bible, as well. We will be reading through the book of John together in a couple weeks, but if you want a place to start in the meantime, read a chapter each day from Mark. Since there are only 16 chapters in Mark, you could read this book about Jesus' ministry in 2-3 weeks! And once the habit starts to set in, you won't want to miss your time with the Lord!
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