Sermon quotes on habits

Mortimer Adler

Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.

Augustine of Hippo

Lord, make me chaste – but not yet. Give me chastity and continence, but not yet. O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.


Augustine of Hippo

It is human to err, but it is devilish to remain willfully in error.



Augustine of Hippo

Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.

Jerry Bridges

Habits are the thought and emotional patterns engraved on our minds. These internal habit patterns play just as forceful a role as external influences on our actions – in fact, perhaps more so.

The Pursuit of Holiness, NavPress, 1996, p. 132.

Jerry Bridges

Because we are sinful by nature, we have developed sinful patterns, which we call habits. Discipline is required to break any habit. If a boy has developed the wrong style of swinging a baseball bat, he cannot just decide to change instantly. He has developed a certain habit, and much discipline – much correction and training – is required to break that bad habit and develop a new one.

The Pursuit of Holiness, NavPress, © 1996, p. 100.

Jerry Bridges

Jesus said, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). We must honestly face the question, “Am I willing to give up a certain practice or habit that is keeping me from holiness?” It is at this point of commitment that most of us fail. We prefer to dally with sin, to try to play with it a little without getting too deeply involved.

The Pursuit of Holiness, NavPress, © 1996, p.91

G.K. Chesterton

Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.

The Illustrated London News, January 11, 1908. 

James Clear

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of a new identity. And if a change is meaningful, it is actually big. That’s the paradox of making small improvements.”

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Mike Cosper

To experience the richness of life in God’s kingdom, we must reorder our lives. We need to see through the shallow promises of our culture, and we need rhythms, signposts, and practices that reorient us to another world.”

Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World

Sean Covey

We become what we repeatedly do.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

Stephen R. Covey

We often get into ruts, on treadmills, caught up in patterns and habits that aren’t useful. We don’t stop to ask, what can I learn from this week that will keep next week from essentially being a repeat of the same?

First Things First Every Day: Daily Reflections- Because Where You’re Headed Is More Important Than How Fast You Get There

Fyodor Dostoevsky

It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing, but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.

The Possessed: Dostoevsky’s Collections, p.238.

Charles Duhigg

Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


Every habit and faculty is confirmed and strengthened by the corresponding actions, that of walking by walking, that of running by running. If you wish to be a good reader, read; if you wish to be a good writer, write. If you should give up reading for thirty days one after the other, and be engaged in something else, you will know what happens. So also if you lie in bed for ten days, get up and try to take a rather long walk, and you will see how wobbly your legs are. In general, therefore, if you want to do something, make a habit of it; if you want not to do something, refrain from doing it, and accustom yourself to something else instead.

Discourses, Books 1-2


A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.

Samuel Johnson

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Blaise Pascal

Truly it is an evil to be full of faults; but it is a still greater evil to be full of them and to be unwilling to recognize them, since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion.

Blaise Pascal

The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts.

J.C. Ryle

Experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken.

Samuel Smiles

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;

Sow an act, and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”

Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them

Source Unknown

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Source Unknown

Good habits are hard to acquire but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to acquire but hard to live with.

Charles Stanley

Perhaps you have been ensnared by a sinful habit that you will not abandon, and your guilt is so overwhelming you are ashamed to approach Christ. Whatever the reason for your broken intimacy with God, there is good news. Jesus waits to embrace you now in the arms of unconditional, divine love.

A Gift of Love: Reflections for the Tender Heart”, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001.

Erin M. Straza

Living for what gives or maintains the greatest amount of personal comfort is our long-established habit. At the core, that’s what comfort is—it’s a habit, a way of life. Comfort has become the default.

Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom From Habits That Bind You, InterVarsity Press.

Erin M. Straza

Freedom is found when undesirable habits are identified and the cue-routine-reward structure is defined, pulled apart, and reframed. In the context of our discussion, the cue is a desire for comfort, the routine is the pattern by which comfort is obtained, and the reward is some form of self-soothing, whether that be control, emotional security, power, status, or the like.

Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom From Habits That Bind You, InterVarsity Press.

Erin M. Straza

The power of changing a habit is identifying the reward you are seeking and working backward.

Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom From Habits That Bind You, InterVarsity Press.

Mark Twain

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Source Unknown

We sow a thought and reap an act; We sow an act and reap a habit; We sow a habit and reap a character; We sow a character and reap a destiny.  

Augustine of Hippo

By servitude to passion, habit is formed, and habit to which there is no resistance becomes necessity. By these links . . . connected one to another . . . a harsh bondage held me under restraint.


Alfred North Whitehead

It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.

An Introduction to Mathematics

Gretchen Rubin

Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life, Crown.

Charles Duhigg

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Random House, 2014)

Mark Twain

Make it a point to do something every day that you don’t want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.

Following the Equator (1897)

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