Troublesome Topic: Habits

By Audry Eberhard

What about other habits that we have in our lives? Are habits always bad? Is it bad to do things that we enjoy, or have periods of “me time”? Our culture is all about my entertainment: movies, sporting activities, shopping, eating, doing things I enjoy doing. Advertisements are constructed in such a way that they have you believing that this particular product will lead to fulfillment and pleasure. In the end you find that the pleasure it affords is fleeting at best, in fact sometimes you end up with feelings of guilt because of the amount of time spent doing the activity.

Let’s go back to our key principle that we are created for God’s pleasure and introduce another line of thinking that says we will experience true fulfillment when we invest our time in things that please God and therefore result in His pleasure. The Old Testament gives us pictures of things that God values through the laws that He gave the Israelites. He values living a life a faith, investing in family, investing in others, memorizing portions of His Word, seeking Him in prayer (being quiet), worship (time spent in the Word, prayer and singing), serving others, taking care of your body (the temple), being a caretaker of nature, and the fellowship of believers. This is not an exhaustive list, but at least it gives us a place to start thinking about the things that God values.

The Sabbath rest is given much emphasis. Rest is found by spending time connecting with God through prayer and the Word; this type of rest renews and empowers us for our daily living. The Israelites were to refrain from their normal activities so they could connect with God and with family. This is the only Biblical concept that comes close to our idea of relaxation. I have experienced a discomfort with some activity that I spend time doing. In the beginning I tend to brush it off as overreacting to the feeling that I am wasting time. Eventually I get to the point where I can’t ignore the discomfort anymore. So, I physically remove the object from my life—delete the app, put up whatever it is that is taking my time, completely get rid of any time wasters. I have personally gotten rid of my Christian novels because they were getting more attention than my Bible was and were giving me an incorrect view of the Christian life. At one point in our lives the TV was taking a lot of our time, so we completely got rid of access to television programming in our home. I seem to function better in life if I can completely remove a temptation from my home at least for a period of time. Rather than having to resist temptation multiple times a day I can focus on more constructive activities.

My biggest struggle right now is with apps and Facebook. These things are not bad in and of themselves, in fact Facebook has allowed me to connect with friends from my past that I otherwise would never have reconnected with. That is all fine and good but how much of my time are those activities taking and are they bringing pleasure to God. Is the pleasure I get from doing them something that renews and empowers me, or does it just make me feel guilty because of the amount of time I spent doing something that wasn’t a good use of my time. Once again time spent in relaxation is about me and doing things that I enjoy doing; sounds like selfishness and pride again to me.

The next lesson is: Interactions with Others