• Change is a dream of the human heart. We’d all like to become someone new. It’s also a great promise of the gospel—that Jesus makes all things new. As 2024 begins, many are caught up in the dream of change. In a way, this is wonderful. There is common grace in a calendar that regularly presents us with opportunities to reconsider how we live. The flurry of resolutions made this time of year reminds us that we really do long to be made new.
  • But there’s also a dark side. We can waste the redemptive desire to be made new on resolutions that have no power to change us. And most new year’s resolutions are quickly dropped, then forgotten. So, here’s a much better idea: Make Gospel Habits not resolutions. Unlike resolutions, we actually become our habits. There are no changed lives outside of changed habits. And if we want to actually change, we need to take a sober look at where our habits are leading us.
  • For millennia, Christians have been committed to communal patterns of habit as a way to resist being formed in unhelpful cultural habits but embracing being formed in loving God and neighbour. These practices can be legalistic if you/we pursue habits to earn God’s love. But when you/we are so enamoured with the love of God that we try to order every bit of our lives accordingly—that’s responding to the beauty of our Saviour. Habits before love is legalism. But love before habits is the logic of grace.
  • (Online) media companies want you to have them as your habits, so they can sell your visits/posts/habits to advertisers. Christ wants you to resist unhelpful habits but instead be formed into his likeness by (the) gospel habits.
  • Some gospel habits that can help you include:
    1. Bible before phone— before you spend a substantial amount of time on social media/news/etc. in the morning: read some of the Bible. Let the first substantial thoughts of your day be God’s, not click bait or whatever is the latest disaster or celebrity scandal;
    2. Meal with other(s)— many people often eat alone. Who can you invite to your table for a meal? Food facilitates fellowship;
    3. Weekly conversation— Aim to have an hour of (non-shallow) conversation with at least one other person each week. Being deeply involved in each other’s lives requires time, openness and grace but can lead to giving and receiving deep gospel impact.
  • Your 2024 gospel habits can significantly help you to be more formed in Christ’s likeness. So, what will be your gospel habits this year?