Object Lessons

Power of a Habit

Objects: A Rope several yards long, easy to unravel. A pair of Scissors

I have a rope with me today, boys and girls. Some of you would like to have it to play "jumping rope," I'm sure. See how strong it is. (Demonstrate.) Not one of you could possibly pull it into two parts in your own strength. Let us examine this rope, and see why it is so strong and hard to pull in two. (Unravel.) Why, it is made of many, many strands of hemp. I wonder if any of you can break a single strand? Would you like to try? (Call boy to platform.) See how easily this boy breaks one strand! Now try two. Yes, he can break two and perhaps three (demonstrate), but each time it is harder and harder to break, until at last the rope is too strong for him to break apart.

Suppose we wind the rope once around his wrists. (Demonstrate.) Can he free himself? Yes,—but as I wrap it around more than once, you will notice that, try as he may, this boy is bound by strong cords. (Demonstrate and continue to wind rope around his arms and body.) He is absolutely helpless to free himself, isn't he? Help must come from someone apart from himself. With these sharp scissors, I can free him at once. (Demonstrate.) Notice now the strong cords fall from his body at one snip of the scissors! It's good to be free again, isn't it?

Now habits, boys and girls, are very much like this rope. If you were to ask a man who has formed the habit of smoking, swearing or drinking, just how he began, he would no doubt tell you that he began in some seemingly Innocent way, and that these habits had no more effect upon him at first than a single strand of this rope—but, as he continued, the habits grew stronger until he became bound by them as by strong cords, just as you saw the boy bound by this strong rope. Innocent beginnings, as far as habits are concerned, always have sad endings. Prov. 23:31, 32 says, "Look not upon the wine when it is red . . . at LAST it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder."

There are other habits, too, that boys and girls form, which are displeasing to the Lord; the habits of murmuring and complaining (1 Cor. 10:10), disobedience to parents (Eph. 6:1), lying (Col. 3:9; Prov. 6:16) and many others that you could name. (Suggest others.)

However, there are good habits as well as bad ones. God's Word speaks of many things which should become a part of one's daily living. Read Rom. 12, Col. 3 and Eph. 6, and make a list of all the things mentioned in these chapters which could be listed as GOOD HABITS.

There may be boys or girls here today, who realize that they have formed habits which are displeasing to the Lord. Like the many strands or–The rope, the habits are growing stronger and stronger and harder to overcome. And like the boy bound with the rope, you realize that you are helpless to free yourself. Help must come from someone apart from Ourself—of that you are sure. What is the remedy? Is there no one who is able to break the strong cords? Yes, there is One—and that One is the Lord Jesus, Receive Him as your personal Saviour first of all; then ask Him to break all the habits which, like strong cords, bind you. He is not only willing, but able. He brought them out of darkness . . . and brake their bands in sunder"—Ps. 107:14-16.

Ask Him, too, to help you to form in your youth habits that will cause your life to speak of Him. "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, what­soever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"—Phil. 4:8.

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