NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Some habits are hard to break, but author Jay Dennis believes that through Jesus Christ, individuals have the power to overcome bad habits and begin new “Jesus habits.”
Dennis’ new book, “The Jesus Habits, Exercising the Spiritual Disciplines of Jesus,” offers practical ways to implement the spiritual disciplines of Jesus into any Christian life.
“The idea for this book began when the Lord placed upon my heart to begin reading the gospels and observe what Jesus did, not just what he taught,” Dennis wrote in the introduction to the book, released by Broadman & Holman, the trade book division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“I went back and noticed how many times I had written the word ‘habit’ beside something Jesus did,” said Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lakeland, Fla. “Looking back, I found 31 identifiable habits of Jesus.”
The 31 behaviors examined in the book are observable patterns in the life of Jesus, the consummate example of successful living.
“The good news for you and me is that each of those habits can be copied; they can be put to practice in our daily lives,” he said.
Dennis added that the book is for everyone from busy executives to stay-at-home parents and students. Each chapter offers Scripture-based suggestions on how to apply Jesus’ habits to daily life. The book prompts readers to study the habits each day for 31 days.
“One will catch a glimpse of how Jesus exercised these disciplines, and practically each person can incorporate them at work, school, home or anywhere,” Dennis said. “Jesus told us that He had left an example and that we should follow in His steps.”
People should study the spiritual disciplines of Jesus as laid out in Scripture, Dennis believes, rather than focus solely on secular leaders. “I simply feel that the Jesus example in the practical disciplines of life should be held up as the standard of excellent living,” Dennis said. “Even those who aren’t Christians are fascinated with Jesus.
“[Jesus’] life arguably affected history and continues to do so. Mel Gibson’s movie, ‘The Passion of The Christ,’ showed us how interested the world is in this Person named Jesus. It is important for people to know that Jesus demonstrated, as a lifestyle, these positive habits.”
Dennis examines Jesus’ spiritual disciplines such as prayer, worship, fasting, obedience and fellowship in the book. He also explores other habits in detail, such as confrontation, acting like a man, esteeming women and kindness.
Of the 31 habits, Dennis said he identified most with the habit of having fun.
“Often Jesus is pictured as solemn and sad,” Dennis said. “There were certainly times when that was the case, but I believe He enjoyed life, not just endured it. He loved to laugh. Perhaps that’s why He loved to be around children. Research has shown that children laugh approximately 400 times a day, and adults average 15 laughs a day.”
The Jesus Habits explains that Jesus loved to go into people’s homes and enjoy the fellowship of others.
“He performed His first miracle at a celebrative wedding,” Dennis said. “Jesus also incorporated humor into His teachings. The world would be more attracted to Jesus if His followers would learn to lighten up a little, laugh at themselves, laugh with others and not take themselves so seriously.”
“The Jesus Habits” can be purchased at LifeWay Christian Stores or online at www.lifewaystores.com.