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  • When it comes to spiritual growth and formation, habits will help us. In fact, in the sixth chapter of his book How to Grow, author Darryl Dash insists that habits are not only helpful in our pursuit of growth but they are essential. Dash argues, “For better or for worse, we live according to habit. We think we live our lives according to design or thought, when almost half of our lives operates on autopilot.”

    The autopilot in our lives are those very habits Dash is maintaining are so crucial to change in our life; positive change moving us towards more and more godliness and Christlikeness. He continues, “To change, we need to learn how to create habits that help us become the person we want to be. We need habits that put us in the path of God’s grace.”

    Because we are—like it or not—creatures of habit, in order to grow in our life as disciples of Jesus we need to develop and maintain habits that foster and fortify the very things by which we grow. There are core habits which “put us in the path of God’s grace and dash will consider them in the next chapter but let me give you a sneak peak of the core habits for growth: engaging with the Bible, prayer, and worship and fellowship with a Christian community. But we’ll wait to discuss those things until next week. Back to habits.

    Dash also connects the concept of habit formation with desire. Dash contends that despite the fact that our perspective of ourselves is as primarily thinking beings, we are in fact more accurately described as primarily loving beings. Dash discusses the desire factor in regards to habit formation and growth by adding author James K. A. Smith’s voice to the mix. Dash notes, “Smith argues that we’re lovers more than thinkers. In the end, we’re driven by what we love and desire more than by what we think.” To grow aright we need to desire aright. So how do we desire aright? Habits. That’s how.

    Dash states it plainly, “We change by changing what we love, and we change what we love through habits.”

    So, let’s sum this up. Dash assets that because we are creatures of habit, in order to grow as Christ-followers we need grace-exposing habits. That is habits—practices and tendencies that are settled and regular—that put us under the influence of God’s grace. And, because we are creatures driven by desire, in order to grow as Christ-followers we need to change our desires which is most-readily accomplished by changing our habits from those things which promote our love of things other than God to habits that enliven and enrich our love for God.

    We need to formulate desire-shaping habits which lead to grace-empowered growth. I agree. And I love it.

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