Editor’s Note: Joel Renner is the CEO of RENNER Ministries and the National Director of the U.S. ministry office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alongside his father, he has actively participated in nearly every facet of the daily operations of the ministry since his youth. Joel resides in Moscow, Russia, with his wife and two sons.
Habits To Strengthen Your Faith
by Joel Renner
How do you develop habits? And how do you develop habits that strengthen your faith? That is what I want to talk to you about today.
One person said, “Most of our days are made up of habits.” If you think about it, this is probably true for most people. For example, you might wake up at the same time every morning and eat the same food for breakfast. And when you get into your car, you might do the same actions over and over again — adjust your seat and mirrors, put on your favorite podcast, or play your favorite music, etc.
Then when you get to work, you start your day the same. You talk to the same people most days, and you may even have the same conversations. If you look at your call history or chat history, you will most likely see that you talk with the same people too. And if you look at your browsing history, you will probably see that you go to the same websites and use the same applications every day.
These actions and decisions are habits, and habits are made. Just try breaking one of these routines, and you will quickly learn that you have built a habit!
For the past few years, I have taken a day to write out all my habits and how much time I spend on each one. I also note where these habits will take me if I continue them. It has been a very interesting exercise. Let me show you how it works.
How many minutes a day do you read? Answer that question and then you can figure out how many hours you read in a year. Once you know that number, ask yourself, If I continue reading at this rate, is this good or bad for me? And you can repeat this process with many different actions or behaviors.
But you may still be wondering, How do I build or develop habits that will strengthen my faith? I recommend you look at what you are doing to build your faith using the process I just mentioned. Ask yourself, Am I doing anything to stretch my faith? Reflect on the answer and write out what comes to mind.
The Bible says that faith without works is dead, so let me ask you: What “works” are you doing that build your faith? Maybe you used to do something that stretched your faith, but now you have gotten used to it and it is not a stretch like it was before. It’s important to remember that building your faith is like any other habit. Once you take a closer look at what you’re doing, you can choose to continue that habit, to strengthen or expand it, or to start building a completely new one.
For example, let’s say you want to be a better speaker, and to do this you decide you will read out loud for ten minutes a day in order to develop your diction. Well, if you do that for a year, you will get used to this habit of ten minutes. To take it to the next level, you might decide to practice tongue-twister phrases in addition to reading out loud for ten minutes a day. This is just one small example of what building habits can look like.
To get started on your own goals, think about what you are doing to build habits that will develop you spiritually. Here are a few good questions you can ask yourself:
- How many chapters of the Bible do I read per week?
- Do I have friends I can ask Bible questions to?
- Am I volunteering at my local church?
- How many Sundays do I attend church in a year?
- Do I give my tithe? Do I give the whole tithe, or do I just give part of it?
If you need to work on certain areas to build good habits and build your faith, rather that set goals that are impossible for you to do right now, I suggest you start with something you can consistently do. In your consistency, you will build habits.