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Atomic Habits

A Christian Perspective on Environment and Habits

"Atomic Habits" by James Clear, a recommended reading by Pastor Mario, Feb. 2024

As we journey through life, striving to live according to the teachings of Christ, we often encounter obstacles and challenges, particularly when it comes to changing our habits. Many of us have read books (The Church did a summer study on ten daily Habits back in 2021 called "Win the Day") or attended seminars aiming to improve ourselves. Yet, we find ourselves falling short of our aspirations.

In his insightful book "Atomic Habits," James Clear presents a refreshing perspective on the nature of habits and offers practical strategies for lasting change. While the entire book is a treasure trove of wisdom, I want to focus today on Chapter 6: "Motivation is Overrated: Environment Often Matters More."

Clear argues that the key to transforming our habits lies not solely in our motivation but rather in the environment we create around ourselves. As Christians, we understand the power of our surroundings in shaping our thoughts, actions, and, ultimately, our character. The Bible teaches us in Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." This renewal encompasses not only our internal motivations but also the external factors that influence us.

Consider the psalmist's words in Psalm 119:37, "Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." Our visual surroundings have a profound impact on our behaviors and attitudes. Just as the psalmist prayed for focus and clarity amidst distractions, we, too, must be intentional about curating an environment conducive to growth and righteousness.

Clear emphasizes the importance of being proactive architects of our environment rather than passive consumers of it. This resonates deeply with the Christian concept of stewardship. In Genesis 2:15, God instructs Adam to "take care of" or "tend" the garden of Eden. Similarly, we are called to stewardship over our lives and surroundings, nurturing environments that foster spiritual growth and well-being.

One powerful aspect Clear discusses is the notion of reframing our relationship with our environment. Instead of merely seeing objects as static possessions, we should consider how they shape our interactions and habits. This aligns with the biblical principle of mindfulness and intentionality. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we are reminded, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Every aspect of our environment should reflect this dedication to glorifying God in all we do.

As we reflect on Chapter 6 of "Atomic Habits," let us seize the opportunity to reassess our environments through a lens of faith. Let us prayerfully discern how we can cultivate spaces that nurture our spiritual journey and empower us to live out God's purpose for our lives. May we embrace the truth that through small, intentional changes in our environment, we can experience profound transformation in our habits and, ultimately, draw closer to God.

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