Gaining or losing habits: 30 days to gain, 40 days to cement
"It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing."
Notice from the above text that the King, under the advice of his collaborators, ordered the edict to last for 30 days.
Why 30 days?
You see my friend, it is widely known that new habits can be lost or acquired in a space of 30 days.
On one hand, Someone can acquire a new habit by practicing it daily for 30 days.
On the other hand, it is possible to weaken or lose a habit by not practicing it for 30 days.
If you read the entire book of Daniel, you will discover that the Babylonian Empire was an empire that breathed and worshiped demons. Back in those days, the atmosphere was extremely demonic.
Sometimes, many people are naive about the nature and the ability of Satan. Demons have lived for centuries and they are fully aware of human nature and human psychology.
Satan knows that new habits and old habits can be lost in a span of 30 days. This was one of the reasons why the edict of King Nebuchadnezzar was ordered to be implemented throughout 30 days.
After 30 days, it was expected that Daniel would stop or weaken his prayer life.
After 30 days, it was expected that Daniel and the rest of Babylonian population would acquire the new habit of worshiping the king.
Think of this for a moment: ‘ when the 2020 pandemic hit the world, most governments issued decrees that would forbid public gathering activities. In the process of implementing such a decree, churches were not allowed to operate in public.
Guess what happened?
As those governmental decrees were applied, many church goers acquired the habit of not going to church. After more than three months of not attending church, many congregations' participation dwindled. To this day, many churches have not managed to gather the same amount of people they used to host on any given Sunday. Many of those churches host empty seats until today.
Those empty church seats are the result of the new habits imposed during the long global lockdown. From such examples, you can see how the enemy tries to weaken the people of God.
Notice that in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. It is only after 40 days that Satan appears to tempt him. By the time Satan appears, Jesus had fasted for 40 days and He had already developed and cemented certain habits that contributed towards His resistance against Satan.
Notice as well that in Acts 1:3, the Bible states that, after His death, Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days and He taught them about the Kingdom of God. We can understand that Jesus was preparing the Church during those forty days by instilling spiritual treasures in them.
The principle remains the same when it comes to habits and goal achievements:
If you want to acquire a new habit which will help you achieve your purpose, you will need to practice those habits for 30 days. However, if you want to cement them, you will need to practice them for 40 days.
If you want to lose bad habits, you will have to stop practicing them for 30 days.
When it comes to constructive habits, the enemy can use the 30 day cycle to destroy people. If you notice that you are not practicing constructive and scriptural act (e.g: going to church, praying, physical exercise, Scripture reading and study, sexual intimacy in marriage, or any good habit that does not contradict the Scripture) for a long period, just ensure that you get back to the constructive habit before the 30 day cycle. If you do not act before the end of the 30 day cycle, you will likely lose something.
In the passage of Matthew 4:1-11 and in Acts 1:3, we can interestingly notice that Jesus uses 40 days to fast and 40 days to appear to his disciples after His resurrection.
Take note of the following:
-After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was able to resist the temptations of Satan.
-After 40 days of appearing to his disciples and of teaching them, the disciples were able to continue the Church without the physical presence of Jesus. Furthermore, they were also able to die for Christ.
This is the conclusion:
30 days are enough to gain or lose habits through practice or non-practice.
In order to cement a good habit, you will need to practice it for 40 days.