Last Sunday I asked the question in the morning service – “What things do we allow to get in the way of things that are really important?”. We had a number of answers.

My own was allowing distractions (internet, TV, books etc.) to get in the way of going to bed on time – which affects my realtionships & prayer life.

Someone else said they watched too many Top Gear re-runs on Dave TV rather than reading the bible.

You get the idea.

During Lent this year I am following Brian Draper‘s email series “Lent 40”. Some of his words this morning spoke directly into my question from last Sunday, and I pass them onto you:

Q. Why do we put off doing the simple things that would help us the most?
A. Because it’s just as easy not to do them – especially as we won’t usually see the benefits straight away.

Likewise, we keep doing the simple things that we know we shouldn’t, because (even though they’re unhealthy or unhelpful) they won’t kill us tomorrow.

Life is not usually comprised of grand, ‘defining’ moments – the lottery win, the big break-through moment – so much as small, simple choices, which take us in a certain direction, for good or ill. Most decisions we make have no tangible, instant results, either way: but in time, they will compound.

The writer Jeff Olson calls this the ‘slight edge’ principle. Small decisions, repeated daily, become habit forming, and change our life, whichever way we choose to go.

Positively, what may feel uncomfortable early on becomes comfortable later – choosing to spend regular, short periods in silence or solitude, for example, or starting an exercise routine. Conversely, what’s comfortable now can lead to discomfort later – reaching for the comfort food again, perhaps, instead of a healthier alternative.

Jesus talked of walking ‘the narrow path that leads to life’. Surely we can choose to walk that Way through even the most mundane decisions. And so I wonder, what simple thing will you do, today – to start a positive rhythm, in Lent, or to keep it going – which otherwise you’d put off until tomorrow?

‘We are what we repeatedly do,’ Aristotle is said to have written. ‘Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’

Let’s resolve today, with God’s help, to do the small things that we already know he has asked us to do, and not trade them in for other short term, but ultimately unrewarding, activities.

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