Connecting With God’s Heart for the Lost | Pray for Life
God is passionate about bringing the lost home. The parable we know as ‘the prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11-32) tells not only of the Father who longingly...
It’s unlikely Paul had red hair, nor do I think he was particularly musical. I’m pretty sure Ed Sheeran couldn’t make a tent, and probably hasn’t ever been shipwrecked. So, what’s the link?
They both know the power of habit.
Take, for instance, Ed Sheeran’s new single – Bad Habits (watch below). His bad habit of choice isn’t nail biting or doom-scrolling but an inability to say no – to one-night stands, to alcohol, to strangers’ invitations to parties. His bad habits lead to ‘late nights, endin’ alone / conversations with a stranger I barely know / swearing this will be the last but it probably won’t’.
It’s song-writing gold: relatable, catchy, and insightful. We all have those things that we can’t say no to. We all have those moments where we swear ‘this’ll be the last time’ or ‘ooh, last one’ (I’m thinking of Pringles here, obviously), and then find ourselves right back where we started a few days, hours, minutes later.
It’s almost as if Ed has been eavesdropping on the apostle Paul: ‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do but what I hate I do’ (Romans 7:15–16). Or perhaps it’s less about Ed Sheeran’s understanding of the Bible and more about his insight on human nature: habits form us, for good or ill.
Habits have power. Ed seems resigned to this: ‘I was lookin’ for a way out, now I can’t escape’. But Paul offers us a different answer: ‘who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’
Ed sings about how his ‘bad habits lead to you’, the ‘you’ clearly being someone that he knows is bad for him, but he can’t stay away from. Paul writes about how our bad habits can lead us to throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ.
People often think that they are not good enough for God – that God would reject them and their sinful, shame-filled, broken selves. But as those who have been saved by grace, we know different, and thus we have good news to share: bad habits, although sinful, are never the end of the story. There is grace for all who would turn towards it. And for Christians? Well, our bad habits remind us daily of our need for God.
Our bad habits, perhaps, lead to him.
Alianore (formerly Nell Goddard) is the Church Partnerships Manager at International Justice Mission UK. She tweets as @alianoree.
Watch the music video for Bad Habits: