How some good habits can turn into bad habits …

Your old clunker keeps running but takes a little more TLC on your part. One Saturday afternoon, after getting the oil changed, you wash the car and attempt to improve on the interior by hanging a classic, Christmas-tree shaped air freshener from the rear-view mirror.

Weeks, then months, pass. The old clunker keeps on going. The air freshener keeps hanging there, now making no substantial contribution to the interior of your car because it long since lost any pleasant fragrance to emit.

Now, the air freshener just hangs there, looking more like a tired, misplaced Christmas ornament than anything else.

What was once a good idea now is just an odd decoration. That’s because the idea — like many of our ideas — had a “shelf life.” By turning a good idea into a habit, and never paying attention to its “shelf life,” we can slowly transform good ideas into empty (or even negative) practices.

For example, those plaid, polyester bell-bottom pants may at one time have been a good idea if you wanted to wear the coolest styles. The same pants decades (and a few waist sizes) later will probably not be a good idea. The same goes for good ideas in relationships, in business operations, in organizational practices, and sometimes even in approaches to ministry.

Whatever the setting, we keep things fresh by replacing what were originally good ideas with new good ideas before the shelf life of the current good idea runs out.

What current habits do you still practice even though their shelf life have expired? What new, good ideas can you replace those expired habits with to bring freshness to your life?