I heard a New Year’s sermon that used Daniel and his habit of praying three times a day to say that we should develop good habits. It didn’t talk about the Spirit giving us the fruit of self-control to make these new habits possible. It just talked about disciplining yourself. I’m all for discipline, and the discipline of getting up and reading your Bible and praying is important in a Christian’s life, but this was about changing your eating habits, your exercise habits, etc., the typical New Year’s resolution type stuff. And he said you could do it with a little determination, a little discipline. And people do. There are plenty of people who have turned around their habits for the better. But it came off as a self-help talk, dare I say, a self-salvation talk. While I work to be disciplined in my eating because I don’t want to be ruled by addiction or the lusts of the flesh, I’m also careful to not give in to the latest health food crazes nor go crazy trying to follow all the advice to “save” myself, “heal” myself through my effort. Christ alone is my Savior. I want to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the gospel of healthy living.
How do we teach our kids to make good choices, to be disciplined, to be self-reliant, but to not rely on self or strive to “save” themselves? Do you work with your kids to help them write out goals and list habits that would help them reach their goals? Where are the lines between good habits and striving to be “perfect” outside of Christ? A key must be the motivation of knowing Christ loved you first and all you are choosing to do is out of showing love in return.