For Ministry Resources Youth Series : Holy Habits

Lesson 01: Holy Habits 01/04: Holy Habits

Lesson 01

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, "happy are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness.” I believe that Jesus intentionally used the language of hunger and thirst in this passage. Why? Can you think of anything more habitual than eating and hydrating? It's one of the few things that every human does every day. He is saying that we should crave the pursuit of God like we crave food and water. If you want to be happy, you need to stay hungry. In this lesson, we explore the sacred place where spiritual disciplines and routines meet — we call them Holy Habits.

Large Group

Large Group Instructions

Materials: Breakfast foods

Download the attached script to bring with you to the podium. Materials needed: Have a breakfast spread on stage. Cereal, toast, etc.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At least that’s what they say. You wouldn’t think that by what most people eat for breakfast.

One thing I find very interesting about breakfast is that many people eat the same thing almost every day. It’s one of the few meals where people don’t crave diversity. It’s a lot of the same old routines.

It’s the same cereal.

The same eggs and bacon.

The same bagels.

Unlike lunch and dinner, breakfast is a meal of habit. We eat the same things at the same time.

I am excited to start a series called “Holy Habits.” We are going to look at the daily routines and rhythms that lead to happiness and fulfillment in life.

Think of these like the “Habits to Happiness.”

Just like bacon makes you happy, the same is true with our spiritual disciplines.

Things like prayer, meditation, Bible study, and fasting bring fulfillment into our lives.

So, let’s explore the power of our habits and how they are directly tied to our happiness.

  • Tell a story that illustrates a time when a habit forced you to behave in a funny way.

Here is my example about a hotel room and a fan: Nothing gets you out of routine quite like traveling. One fall, I flew out to Nashville to spend a few days with my brother. I was excited to experience the live music scene, eat some hot chicken, and spend time with my brother. After an exciting and exhausting day in the city, we were ready to rest. I made myself comfortable, flipped off the light, and closed my eyes in preparation for sweet dreams. But I couldn’t sleep. I anxiously tossed and turned for almost an hour. My body was restless and my mind was racing. I asked myself, "I am dead tired, so why can't I sleep? Something feels off." Then it hit me. The room was as quiet as a library. I usually sleep with a loud fan humming in the corner of my room. Sleep was impossible in this unsettling silence. I complained to my brother, who was watching the weather channel in the middle of the night. He disappeared through the front door and returned with a big blue superstore bag. He tossed a brand new fan on my bed and announced, "just go to sleep."


I know this makes me sound like a diva, but this is the nature of our habits.

Every single day for two decades, I have slept to the sound of a fan.

Thus, I subconsciously craved it and struggled without it. The hum of a fan was engrained into my sleep routine, which made the two inseparable.

That’s the power of habits. Without realizing it, they control almost everything we do.

We form our habits, then our habits transform us. The quality of our lives rises and falls on the habits we develop -- both big and small. This is why the Apostle Paul says, "whatever a man sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

Contextualizing This Passage

Whenever the Bible deploys a farming metaphor, it's because the author wants to ensure the audience gets it. When hearing this message, I am sure Paul's church got excited.

They understood agriculture. Their culture revolved around planting and harvesting seasons. Their quality of life was the direct result of their labor during the sowing season.

If they wanted bread in December, they needed to plant wheat in March.

If they wanted fresh olive oil, they needed to plant olive trees five years earlier. In our lives, like with farming, outcomes are gradual instead of immediate.

Your success is the sum of your habits. When you commit to consistent exercise, you see results over time.

When you consistently journal, you will begin to crave it.

When you consistently take breaks from your phone, you will see your stress levels decrease.

When you consistently read scripture, pray, and meditate, you will experience renewed spiritual growth.

Daily routines lead to long-term development.  

We often contextualize habits in the category of health.

We think of resolutions like cutting out sugar, running a 5k, lifting weights, or achieving a six-pack.

Of course, these things are good, but they're not the only habits we should intentionally foster.


In this study, we are going to examine and evaluate some Holy Habits.

Just like healthy habits are good for our bodies, holy habits are good for our minds, emotions, and spirit.

The theological word for Holy Habits is "spiritual discipline." It's where we derive our word "disciple."

The Greek word for "discipline" is “paideia,” which is closely related to "the rearing of a child."

Like helping a baby learn to walk, spiritual disciplines focus on gradual growth over time. In summary, spiritual disciplines are habits that help to cultivate spiritual health.


When Jesus kicked off his ministry in Judea, He started with a powerful sermon on a mountainside, called the Sermon on the Mount.

His voice echoed through the valley while he taught eager listeners about God's kingdom, the Ten Commandments, and hunger.

He wasn’t talking about hunger for bread and fish.

That’s a different sermon near a different mountain.

In this sermon, Jesus is talking about spiritual hunger. He opened His message, "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness."

The greek word for “blessed” is “makarioi.” It literally translates as “to make happy.” Jesus is saying, "happy are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness."


I believe that Jesus intentionally used the language of hunger and thirst in this passage.

Can you think of anything more habitual than eating and hydrating?

It's one of the few things that every human does every day.

He is saying that we should crave the pursuit of God like we crave food and water. If you want to be happy, you need to stay hungry.

Jesus used this language because he wants you to habitually seek righteousness the same way you do water after a long run.

You must make your spiritual health a habit.

So what does it look like to routinely seek righteousness?

Commit to praying — daily.

Commit to reading scripture — every day.

Commit to meditating, journaling, and fasting — not randomly, but routinely.

This passage is attached to a promise. When you hunger after righteousness, you will be filled.

Fulfillment is not found in a new Tesla, stacks of money, or even a circle of good friends.

Fulfillment comes from a personal friendship with Jesus. God is nourishing to your soul. Possessions, success, popularity, and money are enjoyable.

However, they will always leave you desiring more. That stuff is like Doritos for your soul. You'll enjoy them, but you won’t be filled.


True fulfillment in life happens when we commit to holy habits. Do you want to be happy? Stay hungry. 

Small Group

Small Group Instructions

  • TALK IT OUT  Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.

Icebreaker: Introduce yourself and share this week’s highs and lows (the best part of your week and the lowest part of your week).

Q1: What is one habit you’ve developed that has had a positive impact on your life?

Q2: What are some examples of “Holy Habits” or spiritual disciplines?

Q3: What prevents or distracts you from establishing holy habits in your life?

Q4: What do you think makes fulfillment in Christ sustaining to your soul?

Application: What would it look like for you to hunger and thirst for righteousness as regularly as you hunger and thirst for literal food and water?

  • This reading plan includes:

    Deuteronomy 8:18 Philippians 4:13 Proverbs 10:4  Romans 8:28 Colossians 3:23 Joshua 1:9 Proverbs 3:5-6

    Do the following with each passage:

    ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.

    READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.

    REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?

    RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.

About For Ministry Resources Youth Series

FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.