Friday, December 2, 2016


By Ada Brownell

Do you not realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? (Romans 6:16 NLT).

Habits are like the tree in Vashon Island, Washington, that grew around a bicycle until the bike became part of the tree. Somebody leaned the bike against the tree when it was a small sapling. Now the bicycle is lodged into a large tree trunk five or six feet off the ground. It is impossible to remove the bike without destroying the tree.

Dr. Alan Friedman, a botanist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, says if an immovable object comes in contact with a growing tree, the growth that creates wood and bark will eventually cover the object. The only exception is a wire or rope put entirely around a tree, which will kill it.[1]


Habits entwine themselves into us in a similar way and become part of who we are. Some habits make us better people because they cause us to do good things. Bad habits wrapped into our character jeopardize our future.

Habits are one part of our lives we control.

True genetics, culture, temperament, talents, education, beliefs, quirks, and hang-ups of our parents affect us, but we can’t blame them if we end up a drunkard, too lazy to support ourselves, or in prison. No matter who we are, our background, what internal and external obstacles we face, we can scramble over everything in our way and reach a life of joy and fulfillment.
Saul of Tarsus, a strict Pharisee, a Jew and Roman citizen educated under the great Rabbi Gamaliel, developed a habit of hating those who followed Christ. He made a religion –and habit--out of keeping the law and persecuting the church. He’d forgotten God promised a Messiah. Paul forgot about sin, and the need for blood to cleanse from sin.
Saul approved of the stoning of Stephen, the evangelist, and later admitted he held the coats of those who killed him.
Paul continued to threaten followers of Christ. Then the risen Lord came in a great light and apparently struck Saul upside the head. Saul fell off his horse.
 “Saul, Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus said.
Jesus had been crucified. Saul knew the disciples were preaching Jesus risen from the dead. Until then, he didn’t believe it.
Trembling, Saul asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
Jesus said, “Arise go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul’s friends heard the voice but saw no one, except Saul who was stricken with blindness. They followed the Lord’s commands, found Ananias, who prayed with Saul and his sight returned. Saul accepted Jesus as Lord, was baptized and called to preach to the Gentiles.
Saul’s name was changed to Paul, and Paul became one of the greatest Christians to preach and teach. All his life he regretted persecuting the church. But his sinful habits were broken and his sin forgiven.
“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).
God is in the deliverance business. Yet, we must hear his voice and act in obedience as Paul did.
©Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Note: This post is adapted from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You. If you'd like to read the first chapter, listen to it on, or purchase the book you can do so at