16 Feb 2020

Habits or Idols

Idols of the heart or habit

1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

So even as we look at today’s sermon, there are a lot of things that we need to check on. How are habits formed? We are in an introspection mode. In other words, why do we get so comfortable with somethings and with other things its very difficult to even start off. This message is for me as well. There are so many unhealthy patterns that I am inclined to do, which is causing me harm. It is only ruining my health, relationships, and maybe professional life. We will look at it as idols. Now you would ask me why is it an idol? An idol is anything that I worship, and I am obsessed about. We have the Indian idol for example.

Definition of Habits:

Habits are a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. – Oxford dictionary

something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it:

A habit is something you can do without thinking which is why most of us have so many of them.

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Samuel Johnson.

Today we will reflect and introspect on how to get good ones in and throw the bad ones out. Also, how to get the good habits to continue.

Deal with Habits Early On before they turn into idols.

Let’s consider this, poverty was not what I chose but I was born poor. Now eventually, God blessed me with enough provision, however, living in poverty has changed my attitude of being helpless, always thinking about money, etc. If I were to say that generosity should be one of our change. I need to start being generous, keeping the fact in mind that God is the one who helps me to be rich, richer. On the other hand being rich, spending lavishly, can also become a habit, which later on can affect the family or  work and then we are so used to doing it that even when we are unable to afford something, we want to spend, leaving us with too many debts.

Therefore, we need to deal with our habits wisely and early on. We need to be like Jesus. Grasp the culture of Jesus. He knew how our habits can ruin us.

An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest. Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand. The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree. The tutor said to his young companion, Pull up the first plant.’ The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers. Now pull up the second.’ The youth obeyed but found the task more difficult. Do the same with the third,’ he urged. The boy had to use all his strength to uproot it. Now,’ said the instructor,; try your hand with the fourth.’ The pupil put his arms around the trunk of the tall tree and couldn’t even shake its leaves. This, my son, is just what happens with our bad habits. When they are young, we can remove them readily; but when they are old, it’s hard to uproot them, though we pray and struggle ever so sincerely.’

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Unconscious Attitudes

It is a commonplace how easily a child of 3 or 4 picks up a foreign language if exposed to it without any formal teaching. Yet we are unwilling to admit that a child of the same age picks up our unconscious attitudes and prejudices without being taught–and often retains these longer than any of his formal education. Sidney J. Harris.

We need to make conscious efforts to recognize our habits which are slowly developing into idols. Are we expecting a call? or watch a YouTube video every time, I am free. There is nothing wrong to expect a call or watch YouTube videos, but we need to know that we are unconsciously looking into our phones several times, or watching that YouTube video when I have other tasks to do.  It’s like, I can’t live without it situation. When we make people our idols, children our idols, we are unconsciously moving God out of our hearts and placing that thing as priority and important. God can wait kind of, and that thing can’t wait. I can wake up at 6 for my work-related issues but I find it difficult to wake up to pray. Work is important. Unconsciously we are sending out messages that this ‘X’ thing is my priority, it’s become my idol.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

An important task before we move on with the sermon is to recognize our idols. Who is it that I am trying to please? My relatives will leave me if I don’t follow ‘…’ thing. Let me just do it once , and then they’ll be fine, they come only once in a while. If I don’t carry my phone to the bathroom, I may miss that important call. Only today I have to get done with this, so that my TL will be happy with me and she will praise me before my authorities, etc.

Changing our habits so that they don’t become our idols. We don’t worship it, and it doesn’t take God’s place.

Habits must be changed with determination and God’s help

I John 3:9, TLB. “The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him—he has been born again.”

Habits deserve no mercy

Deuteronomy 12:2-3, TLB. “You must destroy all the heathen altars wherever you find them—high in the mountains, up in the hills, or under the trees. Break the altars, smash the obelisks, burn the shameful images, cut down the metal idols, and leave nothing even to remind you of them!”

Fill your life with good habits

Titus 2:7, NKJV. “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility.”

Form the habit of focusing your thoughts on good things.

Philippians 4:8, TLB. “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Generosity as a habit

habit of worship, habit of prayer, habit of working hard, habit of listening that others can also be right(humility)

Luke 4:16, NIV. “He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And He stood up to read.”

Prayer

Matthew 6:5, NIV. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

At times God will tear open the curtains that are hiding our idols, and this will be even more painful, because he loves us. Our aim is to be more like Jesus and not ourselves. We need to work and walk towards it. Help each other to realise that …I think this has become your idol let’s work on it. Can we take off something without feeling the compulsion to go back to it. Ask yourself.

Habits of the heart

In Pulpit Digest William H. Willimon used this illustration:

“Philip Haille wrote of the little village of Le Chambon in France, a town whose people, unlike others in France, hid their Jews from the Nazis. Haille went there, wondering what sort of courageous, ethical heroes could risk all to do such extraordinary good. He interviewed people in the village and was overwhelmed by the ordinariness. They weren’t heroes or smart, discerning people. Haille decided that the one factor that united them was their attendance, Sunday after Sunday, at their little church, where they heard the sermons of Pastor Trochme. Over time, they became by habit people who just knew what to do and did it. When it came time for them to be courageous, the day the Nazis came to town, they quietly did what was right. One old woman, who faked a heart attack when the Nazis came to search her house, later said,;Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life when a person is asked to do something for Jesus. When our time came, we knew what to do.'”

True habits of the heart are there when they are most needed.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

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