Tag Archives: habit

Second Nature

Story of the Day for Friday May 18, 2012

Second Nature


                   Train yourself to be godly. 

                                                              1 Timothy 4:7

How quickly can you say your ABCs? If you’ve got a nimble tongue you can recite the entire alphabet in about four seconds. Try it; I’m in no hurry.

Okay, very good. Now, try reciting the alphabet again — and make sure you time yourself –but this time start with Z and go backwards to A.

Hmmm . . . not quite as impressive.


Let’s try something else. Few things are easier than buttoning a shirt. You’ve done it hundreds of thousands of times. So, with your hands folded on your lap, imagine exactly how you button your shirt.

It’s harder than you think. Do you use your middle fingers? What do your thumbs do? What does your left hand do? What are the last fingers to touch the button?


Malcom Gladwell stared at Vic Braden in disbelief. “What do you mean? That’s crazy!” Gladwell could hardly believe what Braden, a famous tennis coach, had just told him. Braden interviewed some of the best tennis players in the world, such as Andre Aggasi, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert, and Jimmy Conners, and would hold long conversations with them about their game.

For over thirty years Braden talked to the best tennis players in the world, “I can honestly say that there is nothing to be learned about tennis,” Braden confided to Gladwell, “from talking to top tennis players about tennis.”

Braden, for example, would ask the tennis greats, “How do you hit a topspin forehand?” Every one of them told him that, at the moment of impact, they would roll their wrists. Braden then filmed these tennis players in top tournaments and discovered that not one of them roll their wrists at the moment of impact. They only roll their wrists after the ball is gone as part of their follow-through.

When the best tennis players in the world hit a topspin forehand, it’s as natural and unconscious as saying your ABCs or buttoning a shirt.


I’m quite conscious about my spirituality. I know when I’m generous or when I’m (trying to be) patient. You know why? I’m still on my learner’s permit and following Jesus has yet to become second nature. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t think of herself as generous or patient. That’s because she is. It’s second nature to her.


The apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, and told him that learning the life of godliness was like an athlete going into training.

The odd thing about godliness is that the more we train, the less we have to consciously think about what we’re doing.

It becomes second nature.

                                                         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Doing the Right Things the Right Way

Story of the Day for Thursday November 10, 2011

Doing the Right Things the Right Way

                     Don’t deceive yourselves by merely listening to God’s Word – put it into practice. 

                                                                        James 1:22

 Don’t get me wrong: I’m a firm believer in reading and learning the Bible. Nevertheless, there is a hidden danger in regularly studying the Bible. Over time we easily view our practice of knowing Scripture as virtuous, rather than putting what we have learned into practice.

Life shouldn’t be this way, but it is: those who are the most devout, those who want to establish a daily time for reading the Bible, are the ones who are most prone to this deception. We begin by wanting God’s wisdom to transform our life, but, subtly, we can discover that we have been training ourselves to simply know facts.

This morning I read a portion from Colossians. I shut my Greek New Testament, thinking, “There, I did it. Read my Scripture reading for the day.” But if you would ask, “So, Marty, what do you intend to do today based on what you read this morning?” I wouldn’t know how to answer you.


The more disciplined we are, the more likely we are to train for the wrong thing. David Grossman, in his book On Combat, writes of a law enforcement officer who trained himself to snatch a weapon from an assailant’s hand. With a partner pointing a revolver at him, the law enforcement officer practiced relentlessly. As soon as he successfully disarmed his partner he would hand the gun back to him and practice his technique again.

One day the officer was able to put his technique into practice. An assailant pulled a gun on him and the officer deftly snatched the weapon from the assailant’s hand. And then, just as he had practiced for hours . . . he handed the handgun back to the assailant! (Fortunately, the officer’s partner was present to shoot and disarm the assailant).


After just reporting the disappointing results of my morning Bible reading, I’m hardly the one who should be offering advice. So, I won’t tell you what you should do. But, here’s what I intend to change: I’m going to try turning my Bible reading time into a prayer. Before I close my Bible, I want to take a moment to ask God what I should do with this knowledge, and then ask him for the strength to do it.


Learning to practice the right thing is crucial. I’ve seen video footage of NFL quarterbacks in practice throwing to receivers. The receiver catches the ball, turns his shoulders downfield, and then lopes back to the line of scrimmage.

Yesterday, however, I watched a video clip of a quarterback in his red jersey flipping a short five-yard pass. The receiver didn’t just make the catch and trot back to the line for the next play. He caught the ball and shot off like a rocket all the way down the field to the end zone. No surprise that this team has the highest “yards after catch” in the NFL.

More important than doing the right things is doing the right things the right way.

                                                               (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)