The Daily Habits of Jesus

Series: Power of Routine

 “The Daily Habits of Jesus” // Text: Luke 9:23-25

 Message @ Jericho Ridge – Sunday, Jan 9, 2022 (Series: The Power of Routine)


Well, hello, friends both those joining us online and those here in the room.  My name is Brad, I’m part of the teaching and leadership team at Jericho.  It is a privilege and pleasure to have you with us as we delve further into our January teaching series entitled the Power or Routine


We’re looking this month at habits that shape us.  And it’s an important topic because as we explored last weekend, our life is formed by our habits much more than our hopes or new years resolutions. 


When it comes to habits, have you ever had the opportunity to observe a master up close?  To see their day to day rituals and the habits that allow them to execute what they do at a high level?  My brother is a master mechanic and one of his habits is keeping all of his most useful tools within arms-reach in his insanely well-organized shop.  This allows him to minimize movement and maximize productivity.  Another example is my great auntie Janie was a master artist.  She had a whole series of habits – how she set up her easel, what brushes she used first, how she would meticulously sketch out a scene first before putting down any paint – her consistency of habits allowed her to be an accomplished landscape artiest. 


When you look at someone who has been successful in their craft, you often see a bundle of habits, often daily ones, that allows them to rise to a level of proficiency creativity and notoriety in their process and profession.  Whether it is a highly skilled nurse or the pre-flight checklist habits of an airline pilot, healthy and repeated habits help us accomplish things with excellence we may not be able to do if we just left it to chance.


One of the things I’ve been pondering as I’ve been preparing this series is the question: Did Jesus have habits?  Do we see Him doing things consistently, even daily, that would give us insights that we could apply to our lives as people if we are seeking to follow Jesus more closely? 


As you read the 4 gospels, the books of the New Testament that are the collected accounts of the life of Jesus, I think you do begin to see some of the patterns and habits of Jesus’ life.  And like all habits, they emerge from the soil of repetition.  Jesus often used analogies in His teaching and with regards to habits, one analogy that is perhaps helpful when it comes to this topic is an agricultural one – a fruit bearing tree.  Turn with me in your Bibles or on your devices to Luke 6.  If we think of good fruit as healthy things that emerge in our lives in Luke 6:43-45, Jesus says the following:  

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”


A good person produces good things from the treasury of things stored up in their heart.  In other words, what flows out of you – your mouth, your actions – will be connected to what you have put into you.  And healthy habits like spiritual practices – are a way of investing good things into the soil of your life so that you can produce good things on an ongoing basis. So what are your patterns of behaviour producing?   


When we look at the life of Jesus, He clearly had some rhyrhms and patterns of life.  Some habits that bear exploration.  There are two good books that examine the life of Jesus through this lens. One is called the and The Jesus Habits by Jay Dennis and the other The Jesus Priorities by Christopher Maricle.  In his book, Maricle makes a helpful observation:


“Isolated incidents reveal little about an individual, but reflecting on patterns of behavior reveals the content of a person’s character and the values that person holds. The way we spend our time and resources is an expression of our values. Jesus told us this himself when He taught us that “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44). So reflecting on how Jesus spent his time should be instructive. What did He say over and over again? What did He do repeatedly?”


The way Jesus spend his time and resources is an expression of His values just like the way you and I spend our time in an expression of our values.  And if you read through the gospels, there are at least 5 habits that Jesus engages with, many daily, that are instructive for us.  Some are not so much “things to do” but more mindset habits.  So let’s dive in and I want you to think as we explore each one “how true is this of me?”


5 habits of Jesus – Habit 1

(1) COMPASSION - more than anything else, Jesus healed people


Mark 1:41 - Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”  And again in Matthew 14:14 - Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Compassion characterized the way Jesus moved through his days.


But it made me also pause and ask myself the question “is my life characterised by compassion?”  I am finding that more challenge in this season because compassion requires margin.  So one of the habit checks I have had to perform this January has been to look at my calendar and see if I am over scheduled or pushing too hard.  When I sense myself waining in compassion, it can sometimes be related to being in a hurry.  The pace that Jesus set was purposeful but very person-centred and this seems to have allowed Him to tap into compassion more readily than I sometimes can.  What is your compassion capacity currently? 


We are in a season where more compassion is needed – in your interactions with retail workers, with family members or teachers.  Can I admonish you to lead with compassion in conversation?  Compassion comes from somewhere deeper than just an adjusted schedule, however.  When you look at the life of Jesus, one of the habits you see him engage in daily is the habit of


 2) PRAYER - Jesus was in daily, active conversation with God (seeking God’s will; being thankful; expressing need)


One of things I love as you read through the prayers of Jesus is the incredible variety.  Some were super short.  Some were prayers asking God the Father for guidance and insight. Some were prayers of praise or thanksgiving. Some were born out of places of deep pain and anguish. 


If were to take the accounts of Jesus life and reproduce them in calendar format, there would regularly be blocks of time – some short, some longer – devoted to active conversation with God in prayer.  It was a keystone habit for Jesus.  So let’s pause for a moment and let’s consider a few tips if you want to grow in making prayer a regular part of your routine in 2022.


I’m going to suggest a few ideas for you to consider: some may work for you, some may not.  There are just some things I’m trying. Here’s one idea

Idea: USE WRITTEN PRAYERS (eg - Book of Common Prayer)


Depending on the tradition you grew up in, this may be a very familiar practice or it might feel odd and almost inauthentic to borrow someone else’s words to talk to God.  There is a rich and powerful tradition of written prayers for personal and corporate use that we have to draw on as a Christian community.   


I love how writer Emily P Freeman put this in her newsletter this week “I've realized the gifts and relief that can come from borrowed prayers. When uncertainty permeates the moment, whether because of a devastating national tragedy or a personal season of doubt, a regular practice of praying familiar words not only counts, but could be a radical act of faith.”


With respect to praying borrowed prayers, find something that works for you.  I love the Common Prayer app.  I own more copies than is reasonable for a lower church pastor of the Book of Common Prayer.  You might use the Lord’s prayer or some other prayer prompt.  Give it a try!   


Another Idea: USE ALARMS & REMINDERS (eg - praying Luke 10:2 at 10:02 AM each day).  I have a friend who sets an alarm on phone every day for 10:02 AM.  He pauses what he is doing and he simply says a few simple words based on Jesus’ prayer in Luke 10:2 where Jesus says “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields”.


You might have a loved one who is sick or struggling or wayward.  Choose a time and set a reminder or alarm – make it a habit to seek God on this. If you are anything like me, if you only pray for them when you remember, they may not get much prayer coverage in that area of your life in 2022 J 


Last quick idea in this category of making prayer a habit:

Idea: ENGAGE YOUR BODY (eg - kneeling; palms up / palms down)


Even through I am a morning person, I find morning prayer hard.  My mind starts to wander, I go through my day, then my monkey brain kicks in and I jump over to thinking about random things – TV shows I’ve watched or new clips or phone calls I should be making.  One habit I find helpful is putting my body into the position I want my soul to get into.  So for me, it can be helpful to kneel.  This posture of submission also makes my knees hurt a bit so it keeps my middle-aged mind from wandering as easily. 


Here’s another prayer practice that involves our bodies: A few weeks back, Constance led us through an exercise at our prayer times which we have weekly from 9:45-10:15 AM upstairs called “palms up / palms down”.  She invited us to take our hands and put them palms up and to imagine in there something or someone what we felt we were carrying and that felt heavy. 


Then after spending time in silence, we were invited to turn our palms down as act act of releasing that issue or person to the Lord.  The act of engaging our bodies in prayer or worship can be powerful.  Watch for it as your read through the Psalms this month.  That is why some people find it engaging to lift their hands in worship in song.  Or why Michael Savage Jr dances as an expression of joy. 


OK… that’s a few prayer practices for you to think on and maybe put into play in your own life in 2022.  Let’s jump back to examining the 5 habits of Jesus.  So habit 1, compassion.  Habit 2, prayer.  Habit 3…


(3) GENEROSITY - Jesus practiced an abundance mentality and warned against seeking comfort and security in finances


This was again, not just an action or set of actions, it was a mindset with Jesus.  Jesus did not live with a scarcity mentality but with the sense that God was a good and generous God who longs to give good gifts to God’s children.  And so Jesus moved through his daily life doing things like feeding multitudes and not making just enough for them, but an abundance of left overs.  He made the best wine for the wedding feast a Canaan.  He loved generously, spent his time generously.  He also guarded against non-generosity.    


In His teaching ministry, in Luke 9:23-25, Jesus talks about this clearly:

“Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?”


Here again we see the daily-ness of these habits – take up your cross DAILY - as well as the notion that following Jesus involves both things we embrace as well as things that we resist or reject.  Here we are called to reject the tight grip that we often have on the future. Plans, goals… our own way.  We are invited by Jesus to not seek our comfort and security in finances or in friendships or family or the future.  We are to be open to giving up our own way and following Jesus into the unknown.  Where do you find security?  We are going to sing a song in a few minutes that asks us where find our hope and peace and the invitation is to seek it not in good works or doing but in what Christ has done for us. 


I want to remind us each week that habits are not legalism.  Justin Earley says it well in his book “The Common Rule” Place habits before love you and will be full of legalism. But place love before habits and you will be full of the gospel.  God’s love for us really can change the way we love, but the way we live will never change God’s love for us.” (155).    

This breeds the fourth habit we see in the life of Jesus.  A profound posture of  (4) HUMILITY - Whether washing feet or choosing seating assignments for weddings, Jesus modeled a posture of service (see Luke 14:7-11)


The question this prompts is “Does my life look like that of a person who is open to serving others?”  Sometimes I see serving others as an interruption to my agenda or plans… But I am asking God to work on my heart in this area and to give me grace and humility. 


I am sure we could more habits Jesus perused, but we’ll finish with;

(5) INVITING OTHERS TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE - Jesus was intentional about seeking out those on the margins (in His culture: children, women, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers)

He regularly ate with those who were outsiders.  He touched people who were considered unclean.  His desire always was to invite those who felt they were on the outside into the pace where they could know and experience the love of God. 


Friend, I don’t know your spiritual journey what’s led you to this place.  You may see yourself as an outsider, on the margins.  I want you to hear and experience the invitation today to know God’s love.  To become part of God’s family.  You can do that by praying and saying “yes” to Jesus – believing in your heart that God’s work in and through Christ is enough.  You don’t have to stay on the outside – you are welcome – this is an invitation both from God and also from us here at Jericho Ridge.  Regardless of your baggage or history or past, we invite you to journey with us as we learn to experience God’s love together. 


Ron and the worship in song team is coming.  As they prepare to lead us in responding to God’s love, I want you to take a moment and examine your own life.  Look at your rhythms, actions and attitudes.  (?) What do your daily habits say about your priorities and values?  


Jesus daily habits were built on the framework of compassion, prayer, generosity, humility and radical welcome.  A tree is defined by its fruit.  So what are the good things you are putting daily into the soil of your life so that good things can grow there and God can be glorified?  Let’s pray.   


Reminder that one of our practices is Prayer: In Person: Dale Moore, Sylvia Nickel and myself.  Online you can always reach out  The invitation is open, not just to conversation with us, but also with God. I invite you to make a habit of saying yes. 



Invite you to be seated for a moment as I give a slightly longer benediction today.    


Last Week’s Habit: “Scripture Before Phone” – how did that go for you?

This Week’s Habit: “Frame the Day in Love”


Some traditions called this fixed hour prayer, but the idea is to pause a a few points during your day and re-frame the day by talking to God. 


In his book “The Common Rule” author Justin suggests three prayers that are simple punctuation marks in the day.  Let’s look at them:


Morning Prayer: “Spirit, I was made for Your presence. May this day be one I spend with You in all that I do. Amen.”


Mid-Day Prayer: “Jesus, I was made to join Your work in the world. Please order the rest of my day in love for the people You have given me to serve. Amen.”


Evening: “Father, I was made to rest in Your love. May my body rest in sleep, and may my mind rest in Your love. Amen”


Take a photo of these – I will also post them on the Jericho Ridge Facebook page, twitter account and Instagram and in JRCC Friends Facebook page so you can have access to them. 


But since it is mid-day, I am going to pray the mid-day prayer over you and us as we move into the remainder of our day.  “Jesus, each of us here was created to join Your work in the world.  So as we go from this place, please order the rest of our day in love for the people You have given us to serve.  Let them know and experience us as people of compassion, people of prayer, people of humility, people of generosity, and people who radically obsessed with inviting others to experience God’s love


Did Jesus have habits? When you read the gospels, it is instructive to see that He spent His life and His time in certain ways. Exploring the priorities and activities Jesus engaged in regularly can help us develop strong and sustainable daily rhythms in our own lives.

Speaker: Brad Sumner

January 9, 2022
Luke 9:23-25

Brad Sumner

Lead Pastor

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