Brush your teeth.
This habit has short-term benefits like a general sense of cleaner teeth and fresher breath, but the real value comes when brushing your teeth becomes a daily part of your life. Over time this simple act reduces plaque, guards against cavities, and greatly reduces to need for unpleasant interventions like root canals – leaving you with a healthy smile.
There is a proper way to go about brushing your teeth. You can spend hours finger-in-mouth, scrubbing away or you can use a toothbrush and let toothpaste do the work. At first it will take effort to establish this habit but after awhile you will do it without thinking and even slightly regret when you forget to do so.
Don’t place your identity in brushing your teeth. Its not a spectacular achievement.
Don’t compare yourself to others who may brush their teeth more or less often for a longer or shorter time than you. This is silly.
If you miss a day, your teeth may feel gross, but it won’t kill you. Start again tomorrow. Your dentist will not love you more for brushing your teeth. He’ll just be pleased that you’re availing yourself of the tools he uses to get your teeth nice and healthy.
Try to brush your teeth daily. Sometimes it will feel glamorous and you’ll spend at least a few moments sucking in minty fresh air and marveling at the cleanness of your mouth… but more often it’ll just be a few minutes spent for your long-term good.
Read the Bible.
This simple act has short-term benefits like calming your heart, centering you on truth, and giving you joy in Jesus, but the real value comes when reading the Bible becomes a part of your daily life. Over time this simple act has a multitude of benefits which include: reducing the build-up of sin in your life, attacking deeply rooted lies, and transforming you into a Christ-like person by the renewing of your mind.
This small step on our part results in a metamorphosis: at first we come to God’s word from our own perspective, experience, and desires but -as we keep coming- the Bible starts to shape our perspective, experiences, and desires; transforming every part of us and our life.
There is a proper way to go about this transformation. You can spend hours a day trying to achieve these results by your own effort; using the Bible as a tool to know enough, be good enough and feel ok about yourself. But this will be tiring, ineffective, and even dangerously counter-productive in establishing pride, self-reliance, and shame. Just come to the written words of God and let the Holy Spirit use that time to slowly yet surely help you see Christ. He’s been doing this for ages and is very good at being found by those who seek Him.
At first it will take effort to establish this habit in your life but after awhile you will do it without thinking and even miss it on days when that time gets crowded out.
Don’t find your value in reading the Bible. This is not a spectacular achievement but an ordinary need for us average Christians.
Don’t compare your quiet time to others who do it more or less often for longer or shorter periods than you. This is silly.
If you miss a day, you might feel discouraged but it really won’t kill you. Start again tomorrow. God won’t love you more for reading the Bible. If you know Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are already fully loved and accepted and nothing you do can make Him like you more or less. He’ll just be pleased that you are seeking Him with the book He’s given you. And you’ll avoid some root-canal-like measures He may take to rescue you from the deeply-rooted, rot of sin.
Try to read the Bible daily. Sometimes it will be the starting sunburst of your day or the last calming word before you sleep or your only anchor when life is falling apart… but often it will be as mundane and good for you as brushing your teeth.