Re-establishing a Vital Habit
Editorial by Jerry Lutz
You’ve heard it said, “Old habits die hard.” It’s a phrase that is sometimes used to convey how difficult
it can be to stop doing things one has been doing for a long time. If you have ever tried breaking a well- established habit, you know how challenging and frustrating it can be. Neuroscientists graphically describe habits as pathways in the brain that are made by connections between neurons (nerve cells). These neural pathways, they say, are like grooves in the road maps of our brain. So, the more frequently the pathway is traveled, the stronger and more “second nature” the behavior.
We’ve been living under the life-changing circumstances of a pandemic for nearly two years. During this time, some good new habits have been developed, out of necessity, for health safety reasons that help prevent the spread of the virus (and other pathogens too). But there have been other habits established as well, also out of necessity, that have affected our corporate worship behavior and patterns.
While there’s no doubt that online worship services are a tremendous blessing when we can’t get together, the convenience of worshipping at home has created some habits that need to be broken for the sake of re-establishing the good habit of in-person worship and fellowship.
We agree that Bible study, prayer, witnessing, giving and serving others are all important to our spiritual growth and well-being. Just as important is regularly gathering with our church family to worship and praise God. The spiritual and physical benefits of corporate worship are many. So, as we emerge from the social restrictions caused by the pandemic, let us reaffirm the importance of not “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25, KJV) by resolving to commit to the faithful practice of this vital spiritual discipline (also known as habit). May God bless us all in this new year!
Jerry Lutz is president of the Chesapeake Conference