Have you ever seen a sink hole?
Cars can be parked on a street
day after day, and everything
appears normal, then one day
the asphalt caves in and cars
disappear into a gigantic hole.
Everybody says, “That hole came
out of nowhere.” But they’re
wrong. The hole appears
suddenly but the process that
led to it has gone on for many
years. The underground erosion
was invisible, but it was there all
along.
Likewise, sometimes when a
man commits adultery and
abandons his family, it appears
to have come “out of the clear
blue sky.” It hasn’t.
Sink holes remind us of two
things: first, something can look
good on the outside, when
underneath major problems
have been going on for years,
and disaster’s about to happen.
Second, our lives are affected by
little choices, which have
cumulative effects that can
result in either moral strength
or moral disaster.
A battering ram may hit a
fortress gate a thousand times,
and no one impact seems to
have an effect, yet finally the
gate caves in. Similarly, sinful
actions don’t come out of
nowhere—they’re the
cumulative product of little
moral compromises made over
time, which ultimately result in
ungodly behavior. On the other
hand, it’s equally true that godly
actions are the cumulative
product of small, habitual, and
Christ-honoring choices for
righteousness.
Who Are You Becoming?
Every day we’re becoming
someone—the question is,
who? Author Jerry Bridges,
hearing me address this, told
me that Dawson Trotman,
founder of The Navigators, used
to say, “You are going to be
what you are now becoming.”
Scripture speaks of this process
of character development: “And
we all, with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the
same image from one degree of
glory to another” (2 Corinthians
3:18).
Who you become will be the
cumulative result of the daily
choices you make. “The path of
the righteous is like the first
light of dawn, which shines
brighter and brighter until full
day” (Proverbs 4:18). This is
why Scripture continually warns
us against wrong choices: “Do
not enter the path of the wicked
and do not walk in the way of
the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass
on” (Proverbs 4:14–15).
You become like what you
choose to behold. Behold Christ,
you become Christlike. Gaze
upon superficiality and
immorality, and it’s equally
predictable what you’ll become.
Choices for Godliness
“A long obedience in the same
direction,” to borrow a Eugene
Peterson phrase, is sustained by
the small choices we make each
day. Most of us know the
difference between eating
cottage cheese and donuts, or
the difference between a daily
workout and spending life on a
couch. What I eat and whether I
exercise will determine the state
of my body. The same is true of
our spiritual lives. Whether I
read Scripture and great books,
or spend my best hours
watching TV and looking at my
phone, will make me into the
person I will be several years
from now. I should discipline
myself today, not for discipline’s
sake, but for the purpose of
godliness (1 Timothy 4:7, 8).
Psalm 1 says the one who
continually meditates on God’s
Word “is like a tree planted by
streams of water that yields its
fruit in its season and its leaf
does not wither.” Trees do not
choose where to place
themselves, but we do. We
determine what our sources of
nourishment will be.
Developing Godly Habits
Following Christ isn’t magic. It
requires repeated actions on
our part, which develop into
habits and life disciplines. Our
spirituality hinges on the
development of these little
habits, such as Bible reading
and memorization and
prayer. In putting one foot in
front of the other day after day,
we become the kind of person
who grows in Christlikeness.
Once we develop Christ-
honoring habits and experience
their rewards, we’ll instinctively
turn our minds to what makes
us happy in Christ.
A decade from now, would you
like to look back at your life,
knowing you’ve made
consistently good decisions
about eating right and
exercising regularly? Sure. But
there’s a huge gap between
wishes and reality. The bridge
over the gap is self-control, a
fruit of the Spirit (Galatians
5:22–23).
The key to self-control is
discipline, which produces a
long-term track record of small
choices in which we yield to
God’s Spirit, resulting in new
habits and lifestyles. In fact,
Spirit-control and self-control
are interrelated in Scripture,
because godly self-control is a
yielding of self to the Holy Spirit.
It’s true we are creatures of
habit—but it’s also true Christ
can empower us to
form new habits.
Your Choices Today
So how can you start to make
the right small choices?
Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to
“Look carefully then how you
walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the
time.” Why not redeem two
hours of your day that you
would have spent on television,
newspaper, video games,
phone, working overtime, or
hobbies? Change your habits.
Spend one hour meditating on
and/or memorizing Scripture.
Spend the other hour reading a
great book. Share what you’re
learning with your spouse and
children, or a friend.
Listen to Scripture and audio
books and praise music while
you fold clothes, pull weeds, or
drive. Say no to talk radio or
sports radio, not because
they’re bad but because you
have something better to do.
Fast from television, the
Internet, and social media for a
week. Discover how much more
time you have. Redeem that time
by establishing new habits of
cultivating your inner life and
learning to abide in Christ. “I am
the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in
him, he it is that bears much
fruit, for apart from me you can
do nothing” (John 15:5).
May we call upon Christ’s
strength today to make choices
that will honor Him, bring us
great happiness, and help us
become the kind of people we
want to be ten years from now!
Randy Alcorn (website: Eternal
Perspective Ministries)