I grew up on a small farm on a dead-end road in South Carolina. My parents worked full-time jobs, but we had about ten cows, four horses, 30 chickens, and an occasional goat or two. Part of our farm experience was being a part of 4-H. Through farming and 4-H, I learned the importance of habit and routine. All the animals had to be fed and watered daily. At some point, I learned the importance, probably from my mom, of having a set time and order to do things. We do this with our dog on a smaller scale. First thing in the morning, we let him outside, then he comes in and eats, then back out. Not sure how this exact routine was determined, but it works to get him fed and not have “accidents” in the house.
We need to have daily routines for hygiene, eating, work, chores, and devotions. My friend Rev. Clint Davis always tells us, “two things you have to plan into your day is your exercise and your quiet time. If you don't plan them into your day, they will not get done.” I have found this true in my prayer and Bible reading. If I stay with my habit and routine, it gets done with great regularity. If I have to break the routine and push it to another time, it often gets left out of my schedule completely.
Another aspect of routine is that it gets done when you lack motivation. Many understand this with exercise. There are days you do not want to work out. But if you can get up and go without thinking about it, without deciding to do it, it is easier. It is time, so you go.
When it comes to our faith, some people balk at the idea of doing things by habit. You should want to go to church. You should want to read the Bible and pray. I agree with this, but I also know my weakness and sin. There are times I do not want to read and pray. There are times when I and tired, busy, or weak. Yet, routine and habit keep me coming back. I find that when I break the spiritual habits, I suffer spiritually. I see how the spiritual walk of many Christians suffers when they break the habit and routine of attending worship. Spiritually, we need routines. Weekly, the Lord gave us a day for Him. A day of worship and rest. We need to live in the rhythm and routine of six days of work and one day of worship and rest. This goes back to creation itself.
Our worship of God cannot be by habit or routine alone. We have all seen people following a pattern drilled into them outwardly, but with no inward impact. Yet, it is good to have a strong daily habit and routine for your Bible reading and prayer. It is in obedience to Christ that we follow the creation pattern of one day in seven. Developing a habit and a routine is a good thing if it keeps us coming to Jesus daily in prayer and scripture reading. It is a good thing if we do not even have to think about, “are we going to church?” It is Sunday, we go to church.
What is your routine? Do you need to examine your spiritual habits? Are there areas that are missing in your spiritual life? What habits need to be added to keep you walking with the Lord?