5 Habits to Help You Grow in Your Faith
Despite what social media, movies, and ads suggest, very little of our lives are spent in exciting mountaintop experiences. Between the highlight-reel moments lie most of your mundane days. This is just as true for your faith as it is for your Instagram feed. Our tendency to overlook the ordinary makes it easy to look around at your life and wonder what difference God is making in it.
In reality, life with God doesn’t happen by chasing spiritual highs. He meets you in the everyday, inviting you to walk with him for a lifetime. How you spend your days add up to how you spend your life. So if you’re longing for a big life change, start with small changes in your day.
Now, God is the one who does the saving—he reaches out to you, redeems you, and transforms you into a new person. But you get to respond to him in faith, demonstrating through your own actions that you believe his way is best for you.
Habits and routines reveal where your hope is and enable you to live into the life God made possible for you through Jesus. The best thing you can do to grow in your faith is to change out old habits and routines for new ones that put God at the front and center.
The Ten Minute Bible Talks Team created a mini-series on habits to help you grow in your faith. Check out their recommendations and explanation for why each habit is important (and tune into the full episode or newsletter to find out more!).
Here are five habits from the TMBT team to help you grow in—and live out—your faith:
Listen to the podcast episode with Keith Simon
A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.
Without self-control, you will be susceptible to every desire that wants to raid and rule your life. That’s a super scary thought because my desires are dangerous if left unchecked…
- If I don’t have self-control over my tongue, I will gossip and tear down others.
- If I don’t have self-control over money, I will find myself in debt and unable to give generously to God’s kingdom work.
- If I don’t have self-control over my emotions, I will lose my temper or wallow in self-pity or be consumed with worry.
- If I don’t have self-control over my time, I won’t read my Bible or pray because I won’t be able to resist the temptation to sleep in or scroll on social media or get other things done.
Self-control is incredibly important to be a faithful Christian.
The power to say “No” to sin comes from having something better to say “Yes” to.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Moses said “No” to the pleasures of sin because he had found a greater treasure and a better pleasure. When you focus on the treasures in Jesus, you’ll find it far easier to demonstrate self-control and say no to the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Listen to the podcast episode with Tanya Willmeth
Money can’t buy happiness, but gratitude can.
Our brains are not unlike the web browsers on our phones. Stored cookies and search data cue up the most frequented visits and make it easy for us to revisit those places with minimal effort. So much of our time is spent pursuing things we don’t currently have.
But the Bible tells us our brains were created for more than pining after and searching for worldly treasures. Paul teaches in Romans that we should renew our minds so they aren’t stuck in the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2).
Gratitude is one of the easiest (and most overlooked) ways to reorient yourself toward your Creator.
When you take time to notice the gifts God has given, you build healthy pathways in your brain. And these paths connect us vertically to God instead of horizontally to the world when we’re searching for happiness.
Here are three ways to put gratitude to work in your life.
- Ask God to increase your awareness of his good gifts.
- Meditate on what those gifts reveal about God.
- Express your gratitude in worship back to God.
Regardless of what your mental space looks like today, there is room for gratitude. When you give it the proper attention, your eyes will be opened to the truer happiness of your Creator.
Listen to the podcast episode with Jensen Holt McNair
Prayer is not an easy habit to form, but it is an easy idea to throw around. “I’ll be praying for you,” “My thoughts and prayers are with you,” “Send all the prayers!”
You probably know how to pray when you feel a need, but do you really know how to live a life that’s habitually transformed by prayer?
Honestly, me neither. But again and again, in scripture, Christians are called to prayer. Jesus himself spent large portions of time in deep contemplative prayer. Yet, we still have such a hard time moving beyond vending machine prayers that ask God to give us what we want.
Making prayer a habit is more than marking something off a to-do list. When you integrate prayer into your daily life the way Jesus calls you to, you will start to see how deeply prayer can transform your heart and mind.
What if Christians saw prayer as a way to connect with God and reorient their hearts to his will (rather than a means of getting something from him)? You can practice this right now.
Jesus taught his followers how to pray with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Commit it to memory over the next few days, participating in this ancient practice to remind you of who God is and to challenge you to live in line with his kingdom.
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
Read the newsletter from Anna Lynne Frazier
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
God doesn’t just order us to do things out of some arbitrary power trip. No, God created us. He loves us. And because he knows us better than we know ourselves, he knows precisely what we need to thrive.
The commands God gives us are for us. This means, in order to thrive the way God intends us to, we need to rest.
However, the reality is, many of us live like we don’t need rest. We read the life-giving, soul-filling instructions that come straight from the one who gave us life and filled our souls in the first place… Then we set them on the backburner as a suggestion to maybe get around to if we find ourselves with extra time.
What if instead, we said “yes” to the gift God offers, believing with our lived-out actions that God (the one who made us) knows what we need better than we do ourselves?
One simple way to establish a daily habit of rest is to protect your sleep. You can start by:
- Keeping your bedtime and wake-up time consistent.
- Putting your devices (phones, computers, TVs) away one hour before bed.
- Stopping eating or drinking anything but water three hours before bed.
- Repeating a restful activity every night before it’s time to sleep.
You're already sleeping daily, so tweaking your existing routines is an easy way to make sleeping more restful. By intentionally setting this time before sleep apart from the rest of your busy life, you’re actively choosing to prioritize the good gift of rest God offers.
5. Scripture Reading
Listen to the podcast episode with Patrick Miller
Ezra was Jewish, but he’d never seen Jerusalem. Like most of his peers, he was born somewhere in the region of modern-day Iraq and Iran, and he grew up as a subject of the Persian empire. Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian king, brought Ezra’s ancestors to this region in an effort to assimilate them into Babylonian culture.
What’s strange is that the assimilation didn’t work. The strategy was effective for almost all other people groups, but the Israelites were stubbornly… Israelite.
How did they maintain their religious identity? How did the resist the allure of affluence in Babylon? We get the answer after Ezra’s first visit to Jerusalem. When he arrives in his homeland, he continues a habit he began abroad:
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it.”
Ezra resisted Babylon by developing a habit of reading his Bible, not only for personal study but also for practical application, shaping how he lived out his faith.
We live in a modern Babylon. Culture wants to assimilate us. Going to church once a month and sporadically attending Bible studies won’t help you resist. The only way is to develop a habit of Bible reading. Like Ezra, you can begin studying God’s word so you know how to live it out.
Start simple—just ten minutes on every weekday—and see how God begins to change you.
Read the New Testament with Ten Minute Bible Talks
1. Download a free copy of the TMBT Bible Reading Guide
2. Read a chapter of the Bible a day
3. Listen to the corresponding podcast devotional