We were sitting at the breakfast table this morning talking when the topic of fishing came up. I told of the story when a young man was fishing and he would throw away all those fish that were to small and he would measure all the “keepers” and if they were over 9 inches he through them back as well. The game warden watched him for a while and then asked him why he threw the larger fish back, He said he only had a 9 inch frying pan and the other fish he thew back were over 9 inches. My father-in-law then shared a story about a young bride that always cut both ends off a pot roast before she cooked it. When asked about the habit she said that that was the way her mother always does it. The mother said that was the way grandma does it. Grandma said she had to because the pot roast they bought was too big for the oven so she cut both ends off just to get it in the oven. Isn’t this just like us? We often have very good reasons for doing what we do but when we take a good look at them we find that it is steeped in habits, customs, of culture. None of these are bad and in most cases are really very good for us. And then there are some times we might want to take another look at why we do what we do. The Bible tells us that the Jews are God’s chosen people and yet Jesus pointed out that their customs had started to replace the will and spirit of God’s commands to be a light in a darken world. In the New Testament it tells us that when we come to Christ we are a new creation, the old has been done away with and all things have become new. Yet the old habits are had to break. Paul found this out when God chose him to bring the Gospel message to the Gentiles. Paul had to be shown that he needed to let go of the past traditions of his faith so God could use him in a mightier way. What about us? Do we have habits of customs that might need to be let go of so God can use us better? How about the way we do church – can it be done in a nursing home? The people we associate with? The music we sing? The technology we use – a Computer?
As I study God’s word and I since He is talking to me about a habit of mine I start to ask myself a few questions. Can I find Scripture to back up my habit and is that scripture used correctly in it’s context for me to use? Is this habit due to my environment? Is the habit due to my culture? All to often my habits are formed by out side forces that have helped to shape who I am today and it is these habits that are likely to change the most. The habits that are most important to me are the ones that God is helping me to form and on occasion he may help me to change. For Paul God was able to help him change the habit of only associating with Jews to going to the gentiles in a few minutes but normally it takes a few weeks to change our habits and that is when we need to rely on Gods help to change them. God often leads us out of our comfort zone to minister to others and that is often when He has to help us reorganize our habits. He is faithful to teach us all things needful to do His will better.