Beyond Habit to Relationship

Establishing and maintaining a devotional habit is a very useful tool in developing a heart-to-heart relationship with God.  But habits are not the goal.  A habit is only a tool.  It is a structure that helps to build relationship.  It is not the relationship itself.

Relationships require time.  A habit provides regular time in which to seek God and build relationship.  When the habit becomes the focus, rather than the relationship, the profit of the habit diminishes significantly.

In my experience, the advantage of a habit is that it assures a regular daily time to meet with the Lord.  The potential liability of a habit is that there is a tendency to make my relationship with God a matter of rote–that is focussed more on completing a daily regime than in pushing in to a deeper relationship with God.  Despite this potential downfall, I press on in my habits.  My rationale is this.  If I stop my devotional habits, I may remember to put very little time into a relationship with God.   It least with the daily habits, I am available to meet with God.  Even though I do so only inefficiently, it is still better than not meeting at all.

While I rely on habit to create opportunities to meet with God, there are other ways this can be accomplished.  For example, if one has established a habit of careful planning of each day’s or each week’s activities, daily and weekly scheduling of meetings with God can provide sufficient opportunities for deeper relationship with God.  While the devotion itself may not be a habit, the meetings with God are still facilitated by the habit of planning days and weeks.

Consciously making times to meet with the Lord is the important ingredient.  Whether you reserve this time through habit, planning or merely as a result of a love for the Lord’s presence, the important thing is to make and use time for heart-to-heart relationship with God.

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