Just as bad habits are hard to break, so are good ones! If you are in the habit of doing good, you are not easily distracted or prevented from your purpose, because it is habitual. It comers naturally to you. Time spent in considering and cultivating good habits, is certainly time well spent, because these habits serve us well throughout our lives. Here are some good habits, with a suggestion or two about how to develop and implement them into your life:
1. Smiling is a good habit. It comes more naturally to some than others, but everyone should work on wearing a smile. There’s nothing more distasteful than a sour, unhappy countenance, and even the most miserable people can at least try to present themselves well. I have known of beautiful young ladies whose physical beauty was largely lost or overshadowed by the bland, doleful facial expression they permitted themselves to carry through life. I have also known of young men with the same affliction. But there are those who seem to have mastered the art of smiling constantly. It’s amazing how attractive and desirable certain people and their positions are because they’re smiling! Practice smiling, even when you have to say something unpleasant, or undesirable. Watch and see if it isn’t more palatable!
2. Friendliness is another good habit. “He who would have friends must show himself friendly,” (Prov. 18:24). Friendliness does not come automatically, but must be cultivated and practiced. Are you a friendly person? Do you have a reputation for attracting people because of your friendliness? You can, if you work on it. Try looking people in the eye when you speak to them, and smiling as you converse. Remember their name, and let them know you enjoy their company. Notice what they are wearing, and don’t be afraid to compliment them. Be friendly!
3. Attending the assemblies of the church is a good habit, and we need to make the commitment now, to be sure this is always in our future. Each assembly is an opportunity to start fresh, to encourage others, and to worship God, (Heb. 10:24-25). A good way to build this habit is to consider seriously the importance of what we are doing when we gather. It is more important than anything else we might be doing at that time. And remember, it’s not about what we “get out” of the services, it’s about what we put into them. Attending makes us better people.
4. Reading uplifting material is a good habit. There is so much harmful media content these days. It takes a concerted effort to lay it aside and follow our commitment to read good material. Good books, good blogs, good research, make us stronger mentally and spiritually. Remember that what we put into our mind affects how we speak and act toward others, (Mt. 12:34). You will be more influential, and more respected if you fill your mind with good reading. Incidentally, I have made a commitment to make these articles edifying and profitable each week, and it is good that you are reading them. Read your Bible daily. And follow the Bible classes and studies carefully with your own research and outside reading at home. Look for the good, biblical material supplied by our elders at the church building and read it throughout the week.
5. Pausing before you speak is another good habit. This will require conscious effort at first. The tendency is to be thinking about what we are going to say, even before the other person stops speaking. Practice counting silently for a few seconds before you begin your response. Do not be hasty in your speech, (Eccl. 5:2). Ponder the path of your feet and the words of your mouth, and make sure what you are going to say is “acceptable” in the sight of God, (Ps. 19:14).
6. It’s a good habit to withhold judgment until you have the facts. So many in today’s society rush to judgment, to form an opinion quickly. It takes discipline and effort to resist this tendency, and to wait until the facts are in. The Bible speaks about giving people the benefit of the doubt, (1 Cor. 13:5). Isn’t this what we would want others to do for us, (Mt. 7:12)? When you hear something scandalous about a brother or sister, try consciously repeating, “I do not believe that.” Even criminals enjoy the presumption of innocence, until proven guilty. Good habits are not easy to form, but will serve us well throughout life. Think about your life, and how you want to spend it. Then work hard at forming good habits!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.