The team I work with does book clubs. My manager discovers good books, reads them and then rolls the book out to us. We have read books on “grit” and have studied authors and speakers on different selling techniques.

I’m not one to seek out self help books or gurus, other than authors like John Eldredge I guess, but, James Clear, in his book, “Atomic Habits,” has struck my inner self help guru, Tony Robbins! I say that in jest, but the book, Atomic Habits, is really good, and I highly encourage you to read it.

Why do I say that, well, because I have some bad habits that don’t align with my core set of beliefs. And vice versa. I have some really good habits I practice daily that align with my beliefs and my identity as a Christian. And I desire to live my life aligned with my core set of beliefs in every area of my life. I’m sure you do too.

So, James Clear builds the case that, to become the person you want to be, we should make small incremental habit changes. And it starts with your identity.

For example, if you are a smoker, and want to quit, and you find yourself in a situation where you are offered a smoke, don’t say, “I’m trying to quit.” Maybe say, “I don’t smoke.” There is a big difference there as you verbally identify as a smoker trying to quit, or you identify as a non-smoker.

His main point here is, identity change can be a powerful force for self-improvement.

Another great point he makes is, the more deeply a thought or action is tied to your identity, the more difficult it is to change it.

For example: I’m terrible with directions, or I’m just not a morning person, I’m always late, I’m horrible with technology.

These are all agreements we have made to bad habits we mentally have, and when we’ve repeated the story for years, we slide into mental grooves and accept these false agreements as fact. However, when we decide to change the thought process and quit identifying to the agreements, we can change that identity, incrementally and slowly.

So, he says, your identity emerges out of your habits. Every belief, including those about yourself, is learned and conditioned through experience.

For example, the more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the “identity” associated with that behavior.

So, he concludes, the process of building good habits, is actually the process of becoming yourself, or who you want to be.

Or I would say, who God intended you to be when He created you and the story He is writing for your life.

And in the end, the more evidence you create through exercising good habits, then you will believe it! You will have the evidence in your life that you are a timely person, because you are executing the habits of a timely person over time.

I can see one of my good buddy’s eyes rolling, but, hang with me here.

To live our lives in and through a strengthened heart in Christ, and to consistently walk in the spirit, full of faith, love, joy and hope, and to not give up, but continue to fight and press on in the story God has written for us, is going to require some discipline and some well thought out habits that align with our identity as Christian men and woman in Christ.

But, isn’t that true? When covid struck over a year ago, my church was a ministry humming machine, full of spiritual habits that led us all into small groups, Bible studies and deep connectedness. All that activity enriched our daily lives and helped us all feel connected and full of life. Today, it seems all we have is a church service and some of us are still leaning on “online church” as our weekly fellowship. Not just my church, but most churches I would guess are experiencing this.

I just had a buddy over last weekend and we were sitting around a bonfire in my back yard, moaning about the lack of “spiritual activity” being offered.

We are out of habit. However, some of what has come from covid has been good. I have been able to slow down and reorient to some personal things; good habit! The fact that my personal calendar slowed down was actually refreshing. But, I think it’s time to reorganize, clear the cobwebs, and re-engage. Let’s regroup and prayerfully consider building habits that align with who we are as fellow Christians.

After reading this book, I’m motivated to start a list. I’m going to list out who I am, and who I want to be. I’m going to prayerfully consider who is the man God created me to be, and what it is He wants me doing, and start a list of habits I can execute that will help me achieve what God wants me to achieve. In my family life, work and my ministry.

Atomic habits; what habits will you begin to incorporate into your daily life that will help you become all that God intended?