OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            Dictionary.com defines the word “habit” as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”  There are two kinds of habits that individuals usually form in their lives:  good habits and bad habits.  An example of a good habit is saving 10% of all income that one earns.  An example of a bad habit is constantly biting one’s fingernails.  An interesting truth about habits is this:  “Bad habits are easily developed, but good habits must be intentionally cultivated.” 

            When parents rear their children, they attempt to develop good habits in their children:  eating properly, getting homework done, and going to bed on time.  They also seek to eliminate the bad habits their children acquire:  picking their nose, poor use of the English language, or not taking a bath or shower every day.  Parents know that good habits are profitable to one’s life.  They also know that bad habits can hinder and harm one’s life.

            The same is true in the spiritual realm.  All of us develop habits over time.  Some of these habits are very good habits.  Other habits, however, are not so good.  In fact, some are bad, very bad.  In this article let’s discuss some of the bad habits that people have cultivated in their spiritual lives.  There are a host of bad habits that many have acquired when it comes to the worship services.  Here is a list of a few bad habits that people have: 


1) Coming to worship once or twice a month,

2) Coming into the worship services late,

3) Looking at one’s cell phone constantly during the worship service,

4) Not singing during worship,

5) Watching others instead of honoring God during worship,

6) Talking to others during worship,

7) Playing games on a cell phone or ipad,

8) Seeking to find fault in the worship leaders,  

9) Coming only to one worship service instead of attending both services, and

10) Leaving the worship services before the services have been concluded.


Another interesting characteristic about bad habits is that once a person engages in it for a period of time, he/she no longer believes the habit is bad.  If it is pointed out, individuals always have some rationalization or justification for doing it.

            Worship is a vital aspect of the Christian’s life.  Jesus emphasized some things about worship in John 4:23-24.  He said:  “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:  for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit:  and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”  In the text, Jesus refers to a group of people called “true worshippers.”  Thayer defines the word “true” both positively and negatively.  On the positive side, he says the word means:  “that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true, genuine.”  The flip-side of “true” is defined as follows:  “opposite to what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain.” 

            Regarding these “true worshippers,” Jesus tells us that “the Father seeketh such to worship him.”  The sincere, real, true, and genuine worshipper is the one God desires to enter into His presence.  He does not long for those who worship is imperfect, defective, frail, and uncertain.  There are many times in Scripture that we find God rejecting worship, even from those who are His people.  Here is what God spoke to Israel through the writings of the prophet Isaiah. 


            “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?  saith the Lord:                                                I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight                                              not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.  When ye come to ap-                                           pear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?  Bring                                      no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons                                               and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even                                       the solemn meeting.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth:                                                they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  And when ye spread forth                                             your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you:  yea, when ye make many prayers,                                               I will not hear:  your hands are full of blood” (Isa. 1:11-15).


If God did not accept the defective worship of those in the past, what makes us think He would accept it today?  He does not yearn for imperfect worshippers.  He longs for true worshippers.

            Jesus also tells us that true worship involves three things:  1) the right object of worship, God; 2) the right standard of worship, truth; and 3) the right attitude in worship, spirit.  Most of the bad habits Christian have formed during worship involve their spirits.  They worship the true God.  They follow the divine pattern by participating in the five acts of worship.  Their problem is that their heart is not truly engaged in the worship.  By coming in late and leaving early, they miss parts of the worship.  They miss one or two songs.  They may miss a prayer made to the heavenly Father.   They miss part of the message from God that is presented.  To them, this is not “big deal.”  It is not a big deal because their spirits are not right with God.  To God, however, it is a major deal.  Remember, God only seeks true worshippers to worship Him.

            Bad habits in the worship services need to be corrected by those involved in them.  Remember, cultivating good habit to replace bad habit involves “intentional” development.  If a person resolves to no longer be late to the worship service, he may have to get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier.  He may have to leave the house at a set time every Sunday.  He may need to get gas on Saturday rather than stopping to fill up while coming to the services.  He may have to tell his children that they must be ready to leave at a certain time or there will be consequences.  Brethren, old habits are not easily broken, especially those we enjoy or those that favor us.  Our resolve to overcome bad habits should involve the idea that we want our heavenly Father’s approval.  We want to be part of group known as “true worshippers.”