They are all necessary parts of life. And each habit produces a desire and an idea of what is worthy of our desire.
We can't help but live this life. Unless we are going to live a life completely separated from the world, we have to engage in these habits.
Smith's solution, in his book Desiring the Kingdom - his idea for keeping our hearts after the Kingdom of God - is to engage in counter-formative rituals. The various elements of Christian worship, when made a habit or regular practice, will work to both show us the Gospel and give us the opportunity to practice living the Christ-centered life together. He offers some great ideas in his book, aimed, I believe, at those heading churches and / or Christian education establishments. I, however, have tried to use his ideas and bring them down to a practical and personal level. Here are the first six habits I have adapted from his book.
THE HABIT OF ORGANIZING YOUR TIME
- Organize your time according to the Liturgical Year, observing annual celebrations and holy days as well as weekly Sabbaths.
- Reserve the periods of Advent and Lent as times of penitence - times of denial, self-examination and waiting.
THE HABIT OF GATHERING TOGETHER
- Regularly gather together for worship and fellowship.
- Regularly gather together with other Christians that are not your mirror image - Christians who are quite different in so many ways from yourself but who share the common bond of Christ with you.
- When you regularly gather with other Christians, make a habit of "invoking" the mercy and grace of God.
THE HABIT OF WELCOMING IN
- Accept God's invitation to commune with him. Practice regular interaction, conversation with God.
- Regularly welcome others into your life and your home as God welcomes you into relationship with Him.
THE HABIT OF MAKING MUSIC
- Sing to the Lord, often.
- Make singing with others in the body of Christ a regular practice, both at church and other gatherings, even just casual get-togethers.
- Memorize psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
THE HABIT OF SEEKING GOD'S WILL
- Begin each day by looking to the Lord for guidance.
- Make a habit of reminding yourself of the two greatest Commandments: Love the Lord with your whole being, and love others as you love yourself.
THE HABIT OF CONFESSING AND RECEIVING FORGIVENESS
- Confess your sins to God often. Take time out of each day to reflect on your life and really take a hard look at where you are falling into sin.
- Make a regular practice of confessing your sins to your brothers and / or sisters in Christ. "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed." Look, together with other Christians, at where you are all struggling personally as well as where you, as a body of believers, are failing to fulfill God's call.
- Just as important as the practice of confessing sin is the practice of receiving God's grace and forgiveness. If this is something that you struggle with, come up with a tangible way to remind yourself of your forgiveness, something that you can put on or touch or, perhaps, writing your confession on paper and then wadding it up and throw it away.
Desiring the Kingdom ~ Part 1
Desiring the Kingdom ~ Part 3
Desiring the Kingdom for the (Home)(School)