HABITS OF THE HEART
Everyone has certain habits of thought and feeling, some good and some bad. A good habit is saying “thank you” when someone does something nice for you. A Family member may have a good habit of cleaning out the sink after using it.
Some people have superstitious habits. For example, a ball player must wear a lucky hat. For others, it’s not stepping on the crack in the sidewalk. An instinctive habit could be stuttering or scratching an alleged wound after it has already healed. Some of these habits and behavioural responses are relatively harmless; however, others can be serious.
We are not born with these mental and emotional habits. They are acquired as we grow. My Son refused to say “thank you” when I gave him a gift, so her Mother withheld the gift until he said it. Gratitude is an acquired habit. A baby is born with clutched fists and must be taught appreciation.
A habit is defined as a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition that is reflected in regular or increased performance. The word “habit” comes from a root meaning “clothing that is usually worn” –such as a nun’s habit. Habits may express themselves in simple outward traits, or in complex emotional responses and habitual attitudes toward life --- in habits of the heart.
God promises that fasting can break self-destructive habits. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen?... that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6). The Elijah Fast is especially useful in breaking negative attitudes and bad emotional habits.
The Elijah Fast is not a common corrective device to be used for freeing yourself from minor habits. It is called for in severely negative cases of mental and emotional response. It often works because it is a discipline that builds self-discipline and self-esteem. But more important than psychological esteem, the Elijah Fast invites God into the problem. Then in the strength of God, victory is possible.
Habits reflect themselves differently. Because life is a choice, people who have bad attitudes have chosen to have bad attitudes. They get up in the morning grumpy and choose to be irritated at their spouses, children and coworkers. By frequent repetition, they have chosen a constant state of irritation or anger. They have chosen to have negative personalities.
These people won’t be told to “cheer up” or “lighten up”. Some habits have people in bondage-psychological, physical or social bondage. Bondage enslaves people to their habits. When people have spent their lifetimes becoming depressed, they cannot become optimists by listening to one sermon. Nor does one counseling session change a lifetime of bad decisions. The Elijah Fast involves a total response extending for several days, or a one- day fast repeated throughout a specified time frame.