We all have, or have had, good habits and bad habits, and both kinds are hard to break. The good habits we seek to keep, and the bad ones irritate us or those around us so much we try to stop doing it. Silently and imperceptibly, we are forming habits that will ultimately determine the degree of our happiness and success. These habits can easily be broken in the early stages of their growth, but once they have reached the full measure of their intensity, they assume the proportions of psychological obsessions. They completely dominate character and conduct, and if they are bad habits, and are allowed to remain uncorrected, they can ruin our entire life.
The kind of persons we have become are reflective of the habits we have formed, whether good or bad. It has been said, “What you are, will determine what you do.” This is not always true. You may be much better than your worst act, and you may be much worse than your best act. However, what you habitually do will become who you are.
We choose our own pattern of thought. Joshua told the Israelites, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” Man’s birthright is his freedom of choice. This applies to our thoughts as well as to our actions.
Bad habits are hard to break, but not impossible. It is never too late to change habits; that is, as long as we are of sound mind and body. One of the greatest misconceptions of man is that he cannot change his habits. He often excuses himself by saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but we are not talking about old dogs. We are talking about human beings who are capable of sound reasoning. People can change if they so desire. If you smoke cigarettes, you can stop. If you drink alcohol, you can stop. If you chew tobacco, you can stop. If you are hooked on pornography, you can stop. If you are in adultery or committing fornication, you can stop. If you are abusive to your spouse, you can stop. If you no longer read or study the Bible, you can start again (2 Tim 2:15). If you no longer attend worship service, you can start again (Heb 10:25). If you don’t do good unto all men, you can begin (Gal 6:10). If you stopped praying to God, you can start again (1 Tim 2:8). If you haven’t obeyed the gospel of Christ, you can do it today (2 Cor 6:2). Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). This says that man can change and tells us how he can change, that is, by renewing his mind or by changing his pattern of thought.
Bad habits can damage or kill the body prematurely. Much worse than this, is that bad habits can destroy your very soul. The great danger in bad habits is that, like concrete, they tend to harden over time and are difficult to break. Often people will die with their habits, never seeking to be free from them. Sin is a bad habit we all need to break, and we can only do this through God’s word. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). Free from what? Sin! How? If we continue in or abide by the doctrine of Christ (Jn 8:31 f; 2 Jn 9). Start good habits today by obeying the gospel and being faithful to the doctrine of Christ. These are two good habits no man needs to break!