Benjamin Franklin once said that to set a habit, one had to practice a certain behavior for 30 days, and I’ve often heard that to get rid of a bad habit, one must work at that for 40 days. There certainly seems to be something about that number 40, because it appears in Scripture many times, mostly in times of testing or healing, and specifically when God judged Earth with rain for 40 days and nights.
Habits can work for us or against us, and the smart woman will learn what habits will be most beneficial to her lifestyle and which one are better tossed. I look back at my life and wish someone had shown me what cigarettes do to the lungs like those commercials of the egg frying in a hot skillet illustrated drugs on a brain. I would be a lot healthier now if I’d never smoked. If someone had designed a class for young women that illustrated all these wonderful habits, I think I’d be a much better Christian woman today.
Lord, help Yourself to the kitchen of my life. Help me to cook what is most pleasing to you and therefore what will be most digestible to my siblings in Christ.
Some daily habits to practice:
- Put on a fresh apron: Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to one another, having put off the old man with his deeds 10 and having put on the new, having been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Every chef knows there is nothing like beginning to cook a great meal with a clean apron about the middle. That white garment may get soiled by a few splashes of worldly wickedness, but it will keep the clothes clean. Jesus warned the church at Sardis that those who have kept their garments white will walk with Him for they are worthy (Revelation 3:4).
- Cut away the fat of egotism and stuff my life with savory things of God: Colossians 3:2-3 Be mindful of things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. We are saturated with messages about self and selfish things. In this life and the next, it is all about bringing God glory and all about Him, not self. Egotism has no place in the Family of God. We have been given the Mind of Christ, therefore, we should be especially careful to put Him and others above self by putting to death earthly desires and allowing God to give us our heart’s desire. It is the only way to look more like Him and less like the world.
- Soak me in the marinade of Your Word: John 13:5 Then He put water into the basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe off with the towel with which He was girded. Peter was horrified that his Lord would wash his feet which was the lowliest of slaves’ work. But, Jesus told him if he would not let him wash him, then he did not belong to Him. Jesus was asserting that we are clean because of Him, and that we can be cleansed daily by immersing ourselves in His Word. Interestingly, there is a distinction in the Greek words for baptism. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change in the vegetable which is preserved almost indefinitely.
- Sift me to remove the lumps of wickedness that Satan tosses my way: Psalm 141:4 Do not let my heart turn aside to any evil thing, to practice deeds in wickedness with men who practice iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. It is very easy to embrace wicked things because the world is full of subtleties. Satan uses others to draw us away from godly things; and he uses our fleshly desires against us to drag us into his web of intrigue. A daily date with God will assure our safety because He will shine a light into all the dark corners of our heart and mind. He will make sure our path is well-lighted when we hide His Word within our hearts.
- Pepper every relationship with godly love and wisdom: John 13:34 I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; according as I loved you, you should also love one another. John also affirms to us that Jesus said this is how the world would know Him, by our love for one another. Wisdom is essential to our well-being, and God has a lot to say about it in Proverbs 8. James tells us we need only ask for it, just like Solomon did. Astoundingly, God gives us His wisdom which is part and parcel with the Holy Spirit as noted in Isaiah 11. We have much scripture about wisdom; and I am constantly amazed at Christians who do not practice it.
- Blend me with faith, whisk me with Your joy, fold into my soul self-control, whip me with the cream of peace, swirl my being with kindness, combine me with grace, bake me with goodness, test me with meekness. Ephesians 4:29-30. May only that which is pleasing to You come out of my mouth.
- Serve me, LORD, as the dish of Your pleasure: Help me to bring You glory, to give myself in unselfish service to work the works You have provided, to make you pleased and proud so that I might hear those precious words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
The kitchen analogy was inspired by Cindy Townsend, Louisiana's Women's Missions Director at Louisiana Baptist Convention, from notes I wrote on February 8, 2003.