From our Protestant Reformation culture, especially through the Lutheran strain, good works and effort are nearly always feared. Somehow the thought is that we might think we are earning our salvation through our own meritorious efforts, or that by those works we are closer to God than others. We can fall into those errors, and both are mistaken. However it is true that works can actually help us in our faith. When we make the effort to come before God and to use the “means of grace” God has provided in reading scripture, good books, along with prayer (and some prayer books like the Book of Common Prayer can be valuable in helping us in that), we can begin to experience change in transformation of life, even if it is incremental and at times in fits and starts (“three steps forward, two steps backward”). When done regularly preferably daily maybe with one day off a week, these practices can become ingrained into us as habits which can impact us for good.
Scripture tells us to be angry but sin not, to not let the sun go down on our anger, and thus not give the devil a foothold. In other words we have to deal with what is wrong, what is troubling us, or it can become sin. We have to deal with everything in terms of accountability to God, in a sense to ourselves, and in best case scenarios with trusted friends and companions in the way of Jesus. We shouldn’t let things slide, or push them under the rug.
Some things we don’t necessarily do daily, but regularly, as in meeting with other believers as church on the Lord’s Day, Sunday. Most things I need to do daily, or else they’ll fall by the wayside. Good habits can wear well over time.
Of course just because we do certain things, good as they may be, doesn’t mean we’ll be impacted as we should. Our effort can help us be open and eventually acclimated to a new way from God in Jesus. But we can fall into the same trap as the Pharisees of old who thought they were doing well by what they did when their hearts were not right toward God or man. Good habits must be done in search of God’s gracious work in us. We want to be changed from the outside in, as well as the inside out.
And so we go on. Often not feeling like it, though as it becomes habit, yes feeling like it. It simply being a part of us whether we feel like it or not. Regularly, usually daily. As we follow on to know God better and God’s will for us in Jesus.