A Habit Worth Having
A random list of annoying habits…
Not using blinkers when driving. Constant throat clearing. Incessant foot tapping. Talking while others are talking. Mumbling. Nose picking. Smoking. Eating with your mouth open. Biting your nails. Not covering your mouth and nose when sneezing. Poor hygiene. Smacking while eating. Loud gum chewing. Rolling your eyes. Interrupting while others are talking. Talking in your sleep. Repeatedly hitting the snooze button. Rude comments. Bad table manners. Going to work sick. Slurping. Chomping. Burping. Littering. Flirting. Cracking knuckles. Fidgeting. Sleeping when you should be working. And that’s just some of the more prominent ones. The list is really endless. Every single one of us is either on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to annoying habits. Either they annoy us. Or we ourselves actually do them.
Today I want to actually focus on a very positive habit, one that was very predominant throughout the Bible. The list of great men and women who practiced this habit is quite extensive. Abraham. Jacob. Moses. Joshua. Hannah. Samuel. David. Hezekiah. And Jesus. What did they all share in common? The same exact thing as the hero of our current series of lessons. Just like Gideon, they too all arose early during significant times in their lives. When push came to shove, when times of great need arose, when they found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, when an incredible opportunity presented itself they found the necessary wherewithal to get out of the bed and get going. They rose early.
For Gideon rising early was a meaningful and valuable habit. In fact, this was not the first time we see this habit in the life of Gideon. Just one chapter earlier we find him rising early in the account of the fleece. It is important for us to understand that this word (“rose early,” one word in the Hebrew) also had a very powerful figurative meaning. It was a word that signified urgency. It was word that referred to something being done with a sense of earnestness. That is to say, it was an intentional act. It was something done on purpose, something done for a reason. Gideon didn’t just happen to wake up. He had fully intended to rise early. In the matter with the fleece he was anxious to discover God’s answer. In the matter with the Midianites he was ready to get on with it. No sleeping in late. No hitting the snooze button two or three more times. The enemy army wasn’t going away. The problem wasn’t just going to disappear. And so, Gideon rose early, ready to move forward in faith, ready to fulfill God’s call on his life.
There is much that we can learn from this Biblical example. First of all, let me speak to the more literal application. The Bible admonishes us to “make the most of your time.” With the understanding that every day is one less day here on this earth, we should be a people who are striving to make the most of every single opportunity. In my opinion sleep is overrated. Get what you need for obvious physical reasons but don’t allow yourself to develop the habit of oversleeping. Sleeping to noon when you are in your teens? I get that. We’ve probably all been there at one time. But doing the same as an adult? Not such a good idea. Life is short. Your time here in this world is limited. Get up and get on with it. Develop the habit of rising early. If nothing else, the extra time each morning can be spent in fellowship with God. For years I have told people that just an extra 15 minutes with God each day will transform your life.
Secondly, and at this point I want to appeal to the more figuarative sense of the word, as God’s people we need to be much more intentional in our living. Much more purposeful and earnest. The great men and women of the Bible were people of great faith and great action. Convinced of God’s leading, they oftentimes took the initiative (particularly with regard to their battles). No waiting for the enemy to attack. No habit of reacting only after their lives and homes had been devastated. No. Once the enemy army had amassed these heroes of the faith went on the march. Gideon had God’s promise. In his mind there was no need to deliberate or procrastinate any longer. The enemy had assembled. Now was the time to move forward and fight the battle that God had declared they would win.
God’s people need to take a page from Gideon’s playbook in this regard. For too long we have lain sleeping while the enemies of the Church devastate the land. For too long we have procrastinated when we should have been fighting the battles of our Lord. It’s time to get up and go on with the business of the Kingdom. Not just corporately but also, and far more imporantly, individually. Our time is limited. We have His promise. Victory is ours. So, stop hesitating and get with it. Develop the habit of rising early. You’ll never regret it.