Habits: Good or Bad?

And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” - Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

As I was reading this passage from Hebrews 10, I could not help but to think of some of the things in my life that I do habitually.  Of those things, which ones would be considered “good” and which would be considered “bad”.  In order to better understand this issue of habits, I decided to find some insight from others into habits.  Here are a few quotes:

            We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle ~

            First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you. ~ Rob Gilber ~

            A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.  ~ Thomas Paine ~

            A habit is something you can do without thinking - which is why most of us have so many of them. ~ Frank Howard Clark ~

            Forsake not the assembling yourselves together as is the habit of some. ~ God ~

I could certainly list more quotes but I think that these help to focus on the power of a habit, whether good or bad.  In Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer addresses a common habit that bears mentioning again for the sake of our generation of Christ followers today.  This habit is the neglecting to meet together as the family of God.  He warns against this “bad” habit after having challenged them with a “good” habit.   

Take a closer look:

“Consider how we can stir one another to love and good works.” (v. 24 a)
Have you ever thought that part of what we do together as the body of Christ is to stir one another.  For example: I am not a baker, but Melanie can make the most wonderful pound cake in the world.  I know that things are going to be good when I hear the stand mixer crank up in the kitchen.  As she puts the specific ingredients into the mixing bowl, they are stirred up so that you have this wonderful looking (and tasting) cake dough.  The act of stirring the ingredients leads to a good result.  This is true within the body of Christ as well. 

How do we stir one another?  God’s Word teaches us several ways in phrases such as: encourage one another, edify the body, pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens, love one another, forgive one another, and care for one another – just to mention a few.  In doing these things we are stirring each other to love and to good works.

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.” (v. 25a)
I think that the writer is reminding us of the fellowship dynamic of the body of Christ as he reminds us to not take on this “bad” habit of not gathering together as the family.  Basically, we are being reminded that there are certain things that cannot happen in the life of a believer while in seclusion.  In other words, there are no stand-alone or “Lone Ranger” Christians.  The truth is that we need each other.  Without being together we cannot be stirred to love and good works as the writer suggests. 

Consider again the cake dough, if Melanie turned the mixer on but never poured the ingredients into the mixing bowl, what would happen? Nothing!  If she were to just add eggs into the mixing bowl, what would happen? She would have scrambled eggs only!  It is not until all of the necessary ingredients are poured into the mixer and stirred together that the end result is ready to be baked which gives off that wonderful aroma and yields a marvelous tasting pound cake to enjoy.

But encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (v. 25b)
Did you note the reason for the urgency in this verse?  “As you see the Day drawing near.”  This Day referred to here is the Day of Christ’s return to call the church to home to the Father.  We are fully aware of the truth of the teaching of Jesus that reminds us that no one knows the day or the hour that the Son of man cometh.  Therefore, we must be vigilant, watchful and faithful to practice the good habit of gathering together and stirring one another up through encouragement until He returns.

I trust that you will be encouraged to once again realize the necessity for your involvement as a part of the body of Christ.  You are a necessary ingredient (body part) that causes the body to function well under the leadership of the Head, Jesus Christ. 

Until He calls us home individually or comes to receive His church collectively, let us stir one another to love and good works by faithfully serving our Lord together!

In Christ,
Brother Tim