Did you know that 67% of the wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% for poor? And that 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% for poor? Only 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor, and 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.

Thomas Corley, a CPA who wrote the book, Rich Habits, the Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals*, did extensive research to determine which habits rich people had in common. The results are insightful, but not surprising. Habits, in large part, chart the direction of our lives.

I’m not particularly interested in being wealthy in a financial sense, although whenever I hear an appeal from a missionary, I wish I had the means to write him a big, fat check. I do, however, greatly desire to be rich spiritually. I want to have an account full of answered prayers, six figures worth of kind deeds, and a nicely padded faith inheritance to leave my children.

Like Tom Corley’s list of rich people habits, there’s a list of spiritually rich people habits, too.

Spiritually rich people spend time in God’s book vs. spiritually poor people who spend time in man’s books. Spiritually rich people invest time in prayer vs. spiritually poor people who invest time in worrying. Spiritually rich people serve others vs. spiritually poor people who serve themselves. Spiritually rich people invest their money in God’s kingdom vs. spiritually poor people who invest in their own kingdoms.

But these habits that chart the course of our journey don’t form themselves. We aren’t born with habits. “We have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us,” says theologian Oswald Chambers.

My daughter’s swim coach, Bill Irwin, always says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes PERMANENT.”

I’d like the habit of prayer to become so permanent in my life that it’s the first thing I think of instead of the last. I’d like the habit of serving to become so permanent in my life that I volunteer spontaneously instead of needing to be asked. I’d like the habit of speaking words of affirmation to become so permanent that I no longer have to remind myself to build people up instead of tearing them down. Establishing these habits will make me rich spiritually, allowing me to store up a treasure of good works that will bring God glory.

Until these practices become permanent, however, I must intentionally discipline myself. All day long I face choices about how to spend my time, energy, and money. Every time I say yes to what God wants for me and no to what my selfish nature desires, I am one step closer to building a permanent habit. And even after I establish my habits, I must remain diligent, because, as the apostle Paul shared with agonizing transparency, “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).

I’m thankful that as I yield myself to God, he will empower me.

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).

Do you want to be RICH spiritually? We begin by building godly habits.

Which permanent habits would you like to build? How will you begin to practice them today?

*Dave Ramsey shared Corley’s list in a post called 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day

Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and her freckle-faced, four-footed boy, Winston. A homeschool mom for 17 years, she’s the author of the devotional book, Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God...Starving for Time.

Publication date: October 7, 2013