Last month I was bothered by an increasing pain in my upper back. It was particularly sharp whenever I would sit at my microscope to work. After a period of self-examination and research, I diagnosed the problem as a strain in my right rhomboid muscle, a muscle located between the spine and shoulder blade, immediately below the trapezoid. For years, I had been sitting at my microscope with an incorrect posture, hunched over and putting undue pressure on this muscle. The remedy was a series of stretching exercises and a change in the way I sat when I used my microscope. Within about a week after starting these exercises and implementing a positional change, the pain was greatly diminished. But I was under no illusion that I was cured. The steps I had taken were unlikely to immediately reverse the effects of thirty years of bad habits.
It has also been over thirty years since I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. But as in my professional life, I have acquired many bad spiritual habits. Like my bad posture, the habits began innocently but with time, grew into a significant problem. One habit is my dismal record of memorizing Bible verses. In the beginning, I was content to memorize the classic promise verses of the Bible (e.g. John 3:16). But I soon grew lazy. While I am familiar with many verses and can generally quote the idea of the passages and find its location in the Bible, I do not have God’s Word memorized and on my mind during every moment of the day. It is embarrassing and shameful and when faced with a difficult life situation, I cannot immediately bring God’s Word to mind. I have taken the steps to correct this situation. But it will take time to reverse the effects of thirty years of bad habits.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)
Bad habits may have a subtle beginning and the damaging effects may not be seen until years later. And the time that it took for the bad habit to become ingrained as bad behavior may take even longer to reverse. Thanks be to God who is merciful in His grace to me to continue to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, even when I am so stubborn, lazy, and defiant. He is the reason that my labor is not in vain.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.