Becoming More Like Christ in ’09

 

Godly habits are life-changing qualities that deepen our Christian experience, and enable us to please God. They cannot be developed or maintained apart from Christ; and when fully matured, become automatic and effortless causing others to be attracted to Him (2 Peter 1:5-11). The list of Godly habits a Christian can develop is inexhaustible; but these six habit categories: Godly character, spiritual understanding, self control, patient perseverance, personal holiness and generous love, should be considered as you seek to become more like Christ.

Godly Character

Character is one of the qualities that differentiate one person from another and is a matter of the heart. Godly character is an alignment between belief and action, whether the “talk” about faith and convictions matches the “walking out” of those beliefs through public and private behavior and deeds.

Daily we witness character breakdowns by people who look good on the outside and seem to have everything going for them. Yet, every time someone fails to do what is right, his or her character is weakened and reputation destroyed. Godly character is not a matter of looks and charisma; for God always looks into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

When developing Godly character the Christian is introduced to a lifelong heart change that can sometimes be painful and uncomfortable. Consider these strategies as you seek to become more like Christ and to be considered a person after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

1. Ask God to reveal the truth about your existing character.

2. Confess and repent of any character flaws and sin that He brings to light.

3. Learn from the Scriptures what you need to know and do to develop Godly character.

Spiritual Understanding

Habits take time to develop and require constant practice before they become entrenched routines in our lives. The Godly habit of spiritual understanding is formed through regular Bible reading and study, meditation and prayer. Through spiritual understanding we receive truth that shapes us for the things God has planned specifically for each of us to do. With it we are able to make course corrections, overcome the power of sin, and receive Godly instruction on how to live victoriously (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Having head knowledge of Scripture or various prayer methods is not enough; you must experience the power of the Word, be filled with all wisdom and apply it to your circumstances (Colossians 1:9-10). You cannot cause this to happen by your will, intellect or taking a course; only through a personal relationship with Christ can you receive spiritual understanding (1 Corinthians 2:7-16). If you hunger to know the God of the Bible personally and intimately, you can enable the formation of the Godly habit of spiritual understanding by doing these things.

1. Before reading Scripture, ask God to speak to you from His Word, open your mind and heart to receive instruction, and make the Scriptures come alive (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. While reading, seek insight and wisdom to apply what you study to your circumstances and life (Psalm 119).

3. Meditate on His numerous promises and blessings (1 Corinthians 1:20).

4. Pray all the time–when things are going well and in trying situations (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Self-Control

Habits are learned routines that are practiced repeatedly. It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. It’s as simple as stopping a routine for three weeks so that it can be replaced with a new one. This requires a change in behavior that is brought about through sheer willpower, or at least, that’s the world’s viewpoint. According to this perspective, self-control means exercising total control over one’s life by doing things that seem right based on personal preference (Proverbs 14:12), and managing one’s actions, impulses and emotions for personal benefit. The more self-control a person exhibits, the more success he or she can achieve.

The Godly habit of self-control is very different, and developing this habit is essential to living an authentic Christian life. It begins with surrender and commitment to God, trusting Him to provide what is needed through the renewal of the mind and heart, which produces true self-control. Gradually, the Christian through the power of the Holy Spirit begins to replace bad habits like selfishness, self-indulgence, greed and pride with the Fruit of the Spirit (1 John 2:15-17; Galatians 5:22-23). Reflect on these things as you develop the Godly habit of self-control.

1. Identify the control strategies you tend to use to make life work for you (Proverbs 14:12).

2. Surrender these control strategies to Christ. Ask Him to bring them to mind every time you attempt to return to doing things your way. Surrender them as many times as it takes (Hebrews 4:14-16).

3. Pray that the Holy Spirit will renew your mind in every area where you are out of control (Romans 12:2), and that your life will produce much fruit (John 15).

Patient Perseverance

All habits develop gradually and become entrenched in our lives. Bad habits like falling behind, quitting or giving up in the face of adversity are hard to uproot. It takes resolve, tenacity and determination to transform these habits into good ones. What’s needed is the Godly habit of patient perseverance–the ability to embrace adversity and stay the course until trials, suffering and hardship have done their intended work (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

It has been said that you can’t have a message without a mess! Patiently enduring trials and suffering (the mess) enables us to identify with Christ (Philippians 3:10) and provides a living testimony (the message) that draws others to Him. The Godly habit of patient perseverance teaches us to trust and rely on God instead of self. Take these steps to develop it.

1. Accept the trial or adversity. Let it do its work. Don’t strain against it or say, “Why me?” God has designed it specifically to deepen your testimony (1 Peter 4).

2. Set your face like flint to persevere through the trial as Jesus did when faced with death on the cross (Luke 9:51-56). Don’t be anxious, nor should you fret about circumstances (Philippians 4:6-10).

3. Accept by faith that God will not allow the trial to continue one moment past what is needed to accomplish His purposes (Romans 8:28).

Personal Holiness

A behavior or action is called a habit once it has been lived out repeatedly and practiced diligently. Christians live out the Godly habit of personal holiness when they repeatedly draw closer to God and seek to become more like Christ. Scripture tells us that we are set apart to be holy, and if we truly desire to see God, we must practice personal holiness; for God is holy, and only those who are holy are able to see Him (Hebrews 12:14).

Personal holiness requires both God and the Christian. The Holy Spirit empowers and enables you to live a holy life, but you must make it a priority and have an inner desire to work at it. Personal holiness is not a one-time event. As a Godly habit, it must be lived out daily. Give serious thought to these components as you continue to practice personal holiness.

1. Take a good look at the way you live. Every Christian is called to disconnect from the world’s ways to live according to God’s holy standards. Does your testimony align with your deeds (1 Peter 1:15)?

2. Consider your friendships and acquaintances. Scriptures warns us that the longer we associate with bad company, the greater our chances of being defiled (1 Corinthians 15:33).

3. Pursue God daily. Your mind must be renewed daily to practice personal holiness. Chase after God and do whatever it takes to find Him each day. When you make looking for Him a priority and get serious about finding Him, He’ll be there with the answers you need just as He promised (Jeremiah 29:12-14). You can move forward only as you trust and depend on Him.

4. Let God accomplish His goals. You have been chosen as His tool to accomplish His purposes and to reach others with the Gospel of Christ. Make yourself available to Him (Romans 12:1-2). He will work holiness in you so that through you others will be able to clearly see Him (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Generous Love

The ability to love comes from God; for God IS Love. The Godly habit of generous love is demonstrated when we place the well-being of others on par with the way we love ourselves. It is a commandment for all believers (Mark 12:29-31).

Generous love is to be shown not only to other Christians, but also to those who don’t know Christ. If we do not express love for others; then we will have a hard time understanding God’s love for us. How should we promote the Godly habit of generous love? Consider these ways.

1. Show hospitality to others. Offer friendship and kindness to those who are hurt or troubled. Be generous to those in need by sharing your time, money and other resources (Hebrews 13:2). As you focus on their well-being, others see God’s love and compassion as they are expressed through you.

2. Speak the truth in love. Generous love or the lack of it shows clearly when dealing with difficult people or in handling conflict. Instead of “telling the person off”, listen first to get a balanced perspective, be slow to speak and don’t respond in anger (James 1:19-20).

Developing Godly Habits for Life

Godly habits are not things you do that can be checked off once completed. They are “being” qualities that point to our Christian identity. While developing them will take time, we must accept responsibility and accountability for making certain that they are developed for life!

 

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