Jesus knew about the power of good habits. In the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is saying to cultivate
these good habits in your life, like humility,
compassion, mercy, righteousness, and peacemaking.
But we also recognize that bad habits devastate us
and can rip us apart. That’s pretty much what
happened to Zacchaeus as described in Luke 19. Bad
habits of greed and selfishness imprisoned him and
cut him off from other people and from God. But when
God came into Zacchaeus’ life, what an impact!
In Zacchaeus, we see how we can change our habits
and change our lives.
Author James Moore describes four specific steps to
break a bad habit. Step one is to recognize your bad
habit and call it by name. Call it what it is and be
honest with yourself, even if the truth hurts.
Before meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus rationalized his
actions, but now in the presence of Christ, they
seemed so flimsy and weak. He now saw himself as a
traitor to God and to his people. He saw himself as
one who had become rich at the expense of others.
Don’t whitewash it. See it for what it really is.
Second, make up your mind to stop it NOW. Habits are
formed subtly and gradually but often must be
stopped abruptly ~ cold turkey. It’s not enough to
say, “I won’t tell as many lies as I did yesterday.”
We need to say, “I will not be a liar anymore!” When
Zacchaeus came down from that sycamore tree, he
committed to change and do better – not tomorrow,
but right now.
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