Make Following God’s Will a Habit

Yael Eckstein  |  May 14, 2023

Elderly woman Tamara and Yael Eckstein

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
     With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. —
Psalm 16:7-8

We start out every week with an inspirational lesson from the beloved Psalms. For centuries, these ancient poems of King David and others have been the foundation for Jewish and Christian worship. Enjoy!

The older I get, the more I appreciate the value of good habits. Being consistent about good habits allows for a happier and more productive life, day in day out. Most importantly, once a good behavior becomes a habit, it no longer requires a decision to do it. Having good habits means that our instincts lead us in the right direction.

For example, if I get out of bed at a certain time every day when my alarm goes off, I don’t find myself needing to make a choice to get up each day. On the other hand, if I’m out of shape and decide to start exercising, I need to use my free will to push me. After a few months, when I’m in a regular workout routine, exercise stops being about free will. It’s become instinct.

The same is true in our moral and spiritual lives. The Jewish sages expressed this idea with a simple saying, “Make His will into your will” (Chapters of the Fathers). In other words, if I make following God’s will a habit, like the workout routine, following His will is no longer a decision. It’s my instinct. My will has become God’s will.

Make Following God’s Will a Habit

We see this same idea expressed in Psalm 16: “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

First, God is described as the one “who counsels me.” In other words, God instructs me and teaches me the right way to live. This leads to “my heart instructs me,” meaning that my own instincts are now in line with His.

This is what it means to keep one’s “eyes always on the LORD.” Obviously, we can’t be expected to always be thinking about God. How would we be able to live, work, and have relationships with those around us if we are constantly thinking about God?

What the verse means is that when I accept God’s counsel and train my instincts to match His will, it is as though I am taking constant instruction from Him.

When we align ourselves with God in this way, we can confidently say, “I will not be shaken.”

Your Turn:

Are there good habits that you want to make a part of your routine? Don’t fear. Take that first step. Before long, with God by your side, your good instincts will take over.