The Power of Habits

Lillian Duncan

Updated Mar 15, 2024
The Power of Habits

Remember, a habit is something we do without thinking. But in fact, we need to become more aware of our actions—good and bad.

We all have them. Good ones. Bad ones. Healthy ones. Not-so-healthy ones. Quirky ones. Downright bizarre ones. 

What am I talking about?

Habits, of course. defines this as an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it becomes almost involuntary.

Lots of sources say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, but new information from University College London says it takes sixty-six days. I'm not a scientist, but two months sounds most effective. Less than thirty days seems too short for lasting change.  

When I did a word search for "habit" in my Bible app, I only found it used once. (Actually, I also found it referring to a bull, but I didn’t think that applied to our lives in a useful way.)

Even though we don’t see the term much in the Scriptures, it doesn’t mean God isn’t interested in what we do regularly. He wants us to uphold certain standards, and they should become so ingrained in us that we do them automatically.

You might think this article is about spiritual disciplines, such as praying, praising, and reading the Scriptures regularly, but you’d be wrong. Those are important, even crucial avenues for growth, but I want to focus on practical ways to make God-honoring behaviors routine. He isn’t just concerned about our spiritual life but every aspect of our day.

We Are Our Habits

That might be a slight simplification, but it contains truth as well. The choices we make each day shape our outcomes. Want a better life? Create God-honoring habits.

For example, our dietary choices affect our health—good or bad. Eating well helps us feel better, increases our energy, and builds a strong immune system. This benefits us physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Concerns about finances are one of the top stressors for most people. When we’re worried about money, it’s hard to focus on other important matters. If we regularly choose to live within our means, we’re less likely to struggle with debt. I know inflation makes this difficult, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to have peace in our daily lives.

If we make a routine to show kindness to others, we’ll avoid much unwanted drama. Not participating in gossip and walking away from arguments can lead to deeper connections, less conflict, and more fulfilling relationships.

Jesus told us again and again to love others. He didn’t mean to have a sweet feeling about people. He meant for us to love others with our actions. We definitely honor God when we do this regularly.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “cluttered house; cluttered mind.” Believe me when I say I’m not the world’s best housecleaner. This is an area I need to improve in, but I know living in a tidy home is much more comfortable than not. To achieve the living conditions we desire, we must make it a priority. 

Ephesians 4:22-24 states, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

This passage tells us to eliminate our old, unhelpful ways of doing things and instead embrace new attitudes and actions that reflect God’s righteousness and holiness.

Habits as Our Lifestyle

As we incorporate positive behaviors as part of our lifestyle, they start to squeeze out a lot of the negatives. Here are some things the Holy Spirit will eliminate within us as we grow closer to Him:

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

We wouldn’t even think of doing most of those, but what about discord, jealousy, fits of rage, and selfish ambition? Those sins have a way of sneaking into our lives without us realizing it and making us miserable in the process.

So exactly how do we get rid of some of our negative habits like discord, jealousy, selfishness, and any of the other behaviors?

First and foremost, pray! 

Ask God to help you recognize the behavior you want to increase or remove. Seek His forgiveness when you miss the mark. Then, move forward in grace and with determination to do better next time.

Apologize to those you’ve hurt. While not easy, this shows you’re growing in your Christian walk.

Repeat this two-step process as often as needed.

Remember, a habit is something we do without thinking. But in fact, we need to become more aware of our actions—good and bad. Encourage the ones that honor God and discourage the ones that don’t.

However, change takes time. Don’t become so frustrated that you give up. Be kind to yourself as you move forward into God’s best for your life.

The Power of God-Honoring Habits

I want to share an experience that taught me the power of God-honoring habits:

I started writing when I was 45 years old. One of the first (and best) pieces of advice I got was to write every day. And so I did. Day in and day out, year in and year out, I wrote.

Twelve years later, I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. Even though they were benign, they wreaked havoc on my health and my life. And this is where the power of habits came in.

For the five years following my diagnosis, I had several different types of treatment. Each came with its own set of side effects so… to say I wasn’t doing well was an understatement. Not only was I weak but I had constant fatigue and brain fog.

But writing every day was ingrained in me after so many years of writing almost every day. This had become part of who I was so on the days I felt good enough, I crawled up my steps to my computer room. Yes, I said crawl!

I would sit at my computer and something miraculous would happen. The brain fog would lift and I was able to write. Sometimes it would only be for ten minutes, but other times it might be an hour or more.

And then the brain fog would descend, and I was done for that day.

The amazing thing was that during those five years of treatment when I was at my lowest point physically, I was able to write and get more than seven books published. It was miraculous as far as I was concerned.

I learned many things during that time, including how to trust God and how important God’s Word is. It also made me realize that God had, indeed, created me to write and to share his love and goodness through words.

 It also showed me the power of habits.

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Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko

Lillian Duncan, a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team, is a multi-published author and former speech pathologist for children. Her tagline for many years was “stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem” since she wrote Christian suspense and mystery novels. In 2012, she was told, “You have bilateral brain tumors.” She had no idea how much those words would change her life, but they did. She still loves to write suspense and mystery novels but branched out into other genres. Her goal is to write stories that entertain but also demonstrate God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, visit also has a devotional blog at