I picked up a new motto recently: Start by starting. It helps me get going on writing. Sometimes that means I pull up a blank screen on my computer and stare at it awhile. Then I give it a file name and walk away. It’s a start, right? But there are also some other habits I need. Holy habits.
In my devotions, I read Jeremiah’s message from the Lord to the king of Judah. There it was again. “If you begin to obey.” Start by starting. Take a step forward. Move it, and don’t look back. Keep moving toward Jesus with your eyes fixed on Him, your spirit guided by the Holy Spirit, and your mind fed by His truth.
But sometimes I need to obey by turning away from a practice. I need to stop by stopping.
I have a bad habit of looking out my second-story window and scornfully laughing at my neighbor’s latest antics. That bad habit is more accurately termed a sin. I do not love my neighbor as Jesus has commanded. Instead, I’m being critical and prideful. I think I’m above whatever they do and have the right to laugh. Wrong.
If I want to stop criticizing my neighbor, I must summon the willpower to obey at once and be done with that nasty habit. I must stop the flow of words when I realize I’m doing it again. So I cut off the words mid-sentence and the scornful laugh mid-chuckle. And I keep stopping the flow until it becomes a holy habit.
Will you adopt my two mottos—start by starting and stop by stopping?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
Ginny Merritt lives with her husband Ray in a small New York town on the Erie Canal. They recently retired from thirty-four years in the ministry. They are renovating a home built around 1860 and are enjoying being closer to their daughter, son, and two grandsons. Ginny has published two books through Journeyforth, a division of BJU Press: an early reader chapter book, A Ram for Isaac, and a children’s novel, The Window in the Wall.