Praise and service: What do they have in common? How can they help us break old habits and establish new ones?
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
We talked yesterday about forming habits and how it takes about three weeks to get one started and fully functioning. We also talked about how we take a thought captive to Jesus. We must realize that the person delivering the bad thought is not the real culprit; it is the one who designed bad thoughts in the first place: Satan. He’s the one who became envious of God and the praise He received from His new creation (the gospel according to Kelly). When we realize that Satan is the one behind our bad thoughts–not that he personally gives them, but that he created the circumstances where we even have bad thoughts–then we know to Whom we should take bad thoughts; Jesus will help us deal with them. We don’t have to worry about offending Him; His Spirit is the One who tells us what thoughts go against the heavenly grain; we then turn to Jesus, who lives inside of us, and ask Him what to do with a bad thought. More than that, we ask Him to replace that bad thought with a good one. There is a secret:
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15.
There it is, the secret to beating Satan as his game: PRAISE.
- When we praise, we cannot help but focus on our Lord.
- When we praise, we quit thinking the bad thought, and the reason we thought the bad thought.
- When we praise, we turn our backs on Satan and his temptations.
- When we praise, we reinforce the good things we know about our heavenly Father.
- When we praise, it brings our Father joy and He pours out His love, joy, peace, hope and grace on us (He’s looking for an excuse to do it!).
- When we praise, we make a sacrifice in that we give up whatever the temptation is offering. We opt for something better–MUCH better: His Presence and Participation in our lives!
The following verse gives another secret to beating Satan: SERVING.
16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
- When we do good and share with others, we take the focus off ourselves and place it on God’s children and creation.
- When we do good and share with others, we further the kingdom of heaven.
- When we do good and share with others, we sacrifice, and in doing so, become more like Jesus, who sacrificed for us.
- When we do good and share with others, God is pleased with us (actually, He’s always pleased with us; it brings Him great joy when we are becoming like Him). Is that not enough reason?!
So, when it comes to breaking old habits and starting new ones, all we have to do is survive the first three weeks and we’re good. How do we survive, or even thrive? By PRAISING and SERVING. What we do doesn’t even have to be related to the habit. It’s a matter of giving our minds something else to do and something else with which to associate our new habit.
The next time you are beginning a new habit, like being more intentional about your quiet time, ask God to get you up early, to prepare the coffee pot the night before, and to even go to bed a few minutes early. First of all, there will be many things that get in the way; we must remember that our lives have revolved around a different schedule for many years. Second, you won’t feel like getting up. That’s when you praise the Father and look for a way to serve someone else in your household. Then, have your quiet time: Pray, sing, read, make notes, study, journal; share with someone what you learned that day (do any or all of them).
Abba, I pray for my readers that they will start something new today! May they put into practice the Praise and Serve concept from Your Word. That’s a good passage to memorize; I think I will. Thank You, Abba. Amen.