We moved house at the end of last month. It was the provision of God for us in many ways, and we are very grateful to be in our new home. This week I have done a couple of times what I feared I would do... lose concentration on my way home from work and drive towards the old house rather than the new!
Why did I do it? Because I wasn't thinking, and driving the same route home for 5½ years is a habit that is hard to break. Things that we do often become natural, and trying to do them a different way can seem difficult and requires concentration.
This made me think how God has given us a new destination and a glorious hope, yet how if we lose concentration, if we forget where we are going we can easily fall back into the "old" ways of doing things. Criticism and negative speaking, selfishness and self-promotion, worry and anxiety, these are not paths we go down if we remain focussed on God an where he is taking us.
Then I remembered when I moved house the last time, the same thing happened. I even parked outside my old house once before I remembered. But after time I formed a new habit of going to the new destination, and it wasn't a problem any more. And after a while driving home to this new house wont be a problem either.
The best way to combat a bad habit is to form a good habit. As the good new habits are formed in our lives, we will not go down those old paths we used to slip down when we lost concentration. It is the same in the Spirit: "Train yourself to be godly" (1Ti 4:17), and "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Gal 5:16)
Habit is a force, but it is a force that can work for good as well as ill.