HabitsJan 02, 2012
Matthew 6 begins with some gripping “how to” instructions about our acts of righteousness or charitable deeds. First we’re told what not to do: Do not use fanfare so that others notice what you’re doing. Then verse 2 says, “when you do…” letting us know that we are definitely called to take action. Finally, the manner in which we do is this: “not letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing” (v. 3). What does this mean to give in this way?
The dictionary describes a habit as “a settled or regular tendency or practice.” We have all sorts of things that become habits. Taking out the trash, chewing the tops of pens, holding our spouses’ hand, or wearing socks to bed, for example. Habits can be good or bad; those things that have become so routine, and settled as a part of our daily lives, that we hardly have to think about them anymore.
Psychological research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests that the length of time it takes to form a habit depends on who we are and how difficult that habit is. Drinking water every day will be an easier habit to form for most people than doing 50 sit-ups. There is a different point for each of us when what we are doing becomes so much a part of us that we can “do it without thinking.” The average length of time to reach this point was around 65 days.
I believe this is what Matthew is describing when he talks about our giving, our acts of righteousness. He says, let your giving and your good works for God be such a part of you, such a habit, that you no longer think about what you’re doing. Not only are you not doing it for people, but you hardly know what you’re doing yourself! Now that’s a good habit to form!
Happy New Year to each one of you! I want to let you know what a gift it is to be your pastor and to be a part of this movement of God here in Philadelphia. I know with God, the best is yet to come! May each of us pray and practice, allowing God to form good habits in our lives. I am eager to see what He does in and through us.
- Pastor Tara VinCross
blog comments powered by Disqus