But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 4:30-5:1
We are all of us creatures of habit. I have commuted the exact same way to work for so long I believe my car could do it without me. Perhaps you are the same, or perhaps you have eaten the exact same toast every morning your entire life or read the same daily newspaper (now news feed) for so long that if you can’t get it your whole day is thrown off.
Habits aren’t necessarily a bad thing, or, for that matter, a good thing. The problem is, that tendency we have to repeat habits is the same whether they are good habits or bad.
I had a friend when I was a young banker named Wally (yes, that was his real name). Wally used to go to this greasy cafe next door to our building every day for lunch. It was easily the worst food in town but we were in an ugly, industrial district that was a dining desert. Wally’s choice was literally the only one for miles. Then one year the company moved our whole operation downtown. Suddenly we were surrounded by amazing restaurants of all kinds. We were at the center of the dining universe.
But Wally would get in his car and drive all the way back to get heartburn at the same greasy spoon he always had. Why? Force of habit is not just a phrase. We can feel compelled to do the things we have always done, even after much better options have become available.
The same thing is true in our spirits, my friends. Once in Christ, all that old sin we used to do every day as a matter of course no longer has a hold on us, and yet sometimes we will continue in it simply through force of habit. We will keep using unworthy words, just because we always have, or thinking unworthy thoughts of others, just because that is how we have always thought. New, better habits are available to us. Use your freedom to choose them, over and over and over again, until the freedom to do good becomes a force in you.