5 Ways to Start a Habit

Don't copy the behavior and custos of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2 - Verse Image

How to Start (and Keep) Good Habits

Imagine it’s late and you’ve had a long day. You were planning to exercise, fix yourself a healthy meal, then spend some time in God’s Word. Instead, you grab some pizza and binge TV shows.

Without realizing it, you just reinforced a habit.

Research suggests we all have “keystone habits,” acquired patterns of behavior that form the basis of our daily routines. Change those, and you can change your life.

Here are 5 Ways to Develop Healthy Habits:

  1. Remember whose you are. You are called by God and made in His image. Because of His great love for you, you have the ability to become more like the person God created you to be.

    7 Habits To Develop Spiritual Growth
  2. Identify the “why” behind your behavior. Do you eat junk food because you like the taste? Or because you’re tired or bored? Once you know why you behave the way you do, it’s easier to replace unhealthy habits with better ones.

    Habits
  3. Draw close to God. When you prioritize time with God, you’re allowing Him to renew your mind (Rom. 12:2). Eventually, this will help you change the way you live.

    Lifehacks: Practical Tips For Godly Habits
  4. Focus on one key habit. Consistently doing one thing well will yield results over time and make it easier to master other habits later.

    10 Habits Of Intimacy With God
  5. Give yourself grace. You won’t always get it right… And that’s okay. When you stumble, “fall forward”: learn from your mistakes and keep going. God will still be right beside you, cheering you on.

It only takes a moment to start a healthy habit. Pick a Plan, and let God use that choice to begin transforming your daily routines.

Start a Plan


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

3 Ways to Rest in a World that Won’t Stop Working

Person paddling a boat at sunset

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

GENESIS 2:3

Rest — to relax, pause, breathe, and be at ease.

When was the last time you slowed down, unplugged, and relaxed? Rest is a gift we too easily push aside.

Busyness makes us feel like we’re accomplishing something, but it can be counterfeit. Without healthy boundaries, activity can be like a narcotic, numbing us to our need for intimacy with God: the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

PROVERBS 19:23

Life without rest isn’t sustainable. Rest refreshes us, giving us the energy we need to honor God and to love others. Practicing rest is a spiritual discipline that helps us enjoy God’s presence and realign our priorities.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

PSALM 23:2-3a

Here are 3 ways you can incorporate rest into your daily life:

Practice Mindfulness

In Romans 12, Paul urges us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Practicing mindfulness can help us realign our hearts and minds to what God is doing. Where do you focus best? Nestled in your kitchen with a cup of coffee? Out for a run, listening to worship music? Find something that makes you feel close to God, and focus your mind on Him there before you start your day.

Challenge: Take 5-10 minutes each day and visualize every worry and responsibility, giving each one to Jesus in prayer. (If it helps you, write them down.)

Meditate on Scripture

All Scripture is inspired by God. When you read or listen to God’s Word, and you reflect on what it says, you learn to recognize God’s voice. Purposeful time in the Bible requires making it a priority to focus on just being with Jesus.

Challenge: Set aside 30 minutes a day to read or listen to God’s Word. During that time, snooze your calendar and notifications. Try a Plan, take notes, and journal your thoughts. Let God speak to you.

Be with Community

Intimacy with God doesn’t mean shutting yourself off from other people. In fact, sometimes it means making space for them. Rest is the perfect time to celebrate life with people you love. We’re not made to do life alone. We need each other.

Challenge: Invest at least a couple of hours each week with people you love. Don’t set an agenda. Just show up and enjoy one another’s company. Afterwards, write down anything God showed you during your time together.

These are just a few suggestions to help you start turning intimacy with God into a daily rhythm. Explore more ways to experience rest in one of the Plans below.

Read Plans on Rest

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Introducing: New & Improved Fonts!

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Ever wished you had more font options for reading the Bible, your Bible Plans, or even adding that extra unique touch to your Verse Images? Now, you can simply tap the Font button at the top of your screen (or in your Reader Settings) and find the one that works best for you.

Want even more choices? Check your system’s font settings. Any font available on your device is now available in the Bible App.

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Found a font you love? Fantastic! Help a friend transform their Bible reading experience: tell them about the new updated Fonts feature. Enjoy a more personalized journey through God’s Word.

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How to Cultivate a Heart of Generosity

Woman sitting on a bench watching the sunset

You will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:11
(emphasis added)

Give — to offer to something higher, to make a present of, to place in the possession of another for their use.

What’s your most prized possession? It might be the most valuable thing you own, like the house you’ve worked your whole life to afford. But it could also be a photo from a special time you spent with someone you loved. Or it could be a meaningful gift from a friend.

The value we assign to our “things” is tangled up with our emotions. How we choose to use the things we cherish most reveals our true priorities.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

MATTHEW 6:21

There’s nothing wrong with having things, or with enjoying them. The problem comes when our things have us. God modeled what generosity looks like when He sacrificed his greatest treasure for us. When we give like He does, and we honor Him with that giving, it draws us closer to Him.

This is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

JOHN 3:16 (emphasis added)

Here are 3 simple ways you can begin to practice generosity:

Invest Your Time

Are you engaged in what’s going on in your community? On your street? With your next-door neighbors? You can practice being a better listener almost anywhere: taking your trash out, shopping at a grocery store, working out at the gym. Look for common ground with people, and meet them wherever they are in life, with kindness and respect.

Challenge: The next interaction you have with someone, ask how their day is going. Then listen. Be genuinely interested in them. Make the moment about them, not about you.

Invest Your God-Given Gifts

In what areas are you uniquely gifted? Are you putting your gifts and talents to work in ways that will point people toward Jesus? One of Jesus’ most famous parables is about making the most of what God has given us.

Challenge: Find someplace where you can begin using your gifts to serve others. Start small and local, or go big. Just start.

Invest Your Money

The body of believers that you consider home is the first place where you should invest.

Beyond the tithe, here are two options to prayerfully consider giving to:

Bible Translation

Green arrow

YouVersion

Green arrow

But these are just two ideas. God is moving in the hearts of His people all over the world.

Challenge: Find a movement of God that you feel passionate about, and put your treasure where your heart is: Give.

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:7

What does it mean to worship God?

Woman worshipping

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 PETER 2:9 (emphasis added)

Worship — to express honor to God through extravagant respect, reverence, and devotion.

What are you grateful for? When life is good, we tend to take basic things for granted, like having enough food and a safe place to sleep, enjoying good health and people who love us, etc. But research shows that being intentional to “count our blessings” makes our lives better.1

Maybe you already practice gratitude. Do you also reflect on where your good things come from? The apostle Paul reminded his friend Timothy that God “gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17 NLT) What can we do to respond to this truth?

Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

PSALMS 29:2

Think about this: God made His own universe. He built one of His planets with an atmosphere that could sustain life, where he placed humans… and gave them everything they would ever need. And then, in spite of all our faults and failings (in fact, because of them) He invited us to join His family, adopting us as His daughters and sons. That’s reason to celebrate Him!

Lord, you are our most powerful king. Your name is famous in all the wide world.… When I look at your skies that your fingers made, I see the moon, I see the stars.… Then I ask: Why do you remember men and women? What makes you visit them? You made their place a little below God.… You made them to rule everything that your hands made. You put everything under their feet.

PSALMS 8:1, 3-8

Here are 3 practical ways we can worship God:

Sing Praise

James says that when things are going well, we should sing praises to God. Don’t know any songs you can sing to Him? Then you’re in for a real treat: you can find thousands of songs that will help you give glory to God. Whatever your taste in music, it’s a safe bet that talented artists have created worship in that style.

Challenge: Look for “worship,” “praise,” and “Christian music” on any streaming services you use. It’s worth investing some time to explore.

Thank Him in Prayer

When Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray, he told them to start like this: “Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name.” It’s fine to ask God for things, but real relationship includes both take and give. But what do we have to offer God? Our honor, respect, and gratitude.

Challenge: At least once a day for the next week, go to God in prayer, and thank Him for something He’s done for you, without asking Him for anything.

Share Your Story

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to honor God by “proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” God is always working for good for the people who love Him. Isn’t it thrilling to know that God chose you for a specific purpose in His kingdom? Are you actively spreading the word about God’s goodness?

Challenge: This week, anytime you’re talking with friends, watch for natural opportunities to share some of what God is doing in your life.

These are just a few suggestions to help you start turning intimacy with God into a daily rhythm. Explore more ways to begin worshipping God in one of the Plans below.

See Plans

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Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

PSALM 100:1-5


Notes

1 Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.