Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.' ~ Benjamin Franklin
What is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual. How do we measure up? God by a supernatural work of the cross has placed the life of Jesus into our spirits enabling us to have the perfect qualities of Jesus available to us. His perfect holiness, His perfect love, His perfect patience, His perfect godliness - all the riches of Christs is ours by the work of Calvary.
God has lavished his grace upon us so that we might run the race of life and grow up unto Him from Glory to glory. The cross was Gods responsibility, running the race is ours; we are responsible how well we grow unto Glory. Many of us make the mistake of forgetting that we cannot do what God does – we cannot save ourselves for by faith we are saved through the cross. Salvation and sanctification God has done. God now says – you run the race, you take the initiative and grow up unto me. God will not do what we can do.
The basis of reforming God like habits on the basis of Gods grace is one of the most critical questions that we need to face up to and answer. God has regenerated us and placed His Son into our hearts and has given us access to all his divine resources, but he cannot make us walk according to his will.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly;I do not fight like a man beating the air.27No, I beat my bodyand make it my slave 1 Cor 9
Any athlete who is any good will train and disciple their bodies for hours and hours each day. Valarie Adams New Zealand's champion shot putter who has wontwo Olympic Games gold medals, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, two World Indoor Championship gold medals and four World Championship gold medals. She has been quoted as saying, “How did I get there? A combination of discipline, pain and very little downtime.”
Many Christians today lack spiritual disciple and are 'sloppy' in their manifestation of Gods grace. Most disciples of Jesus have not taken spiritual training seriously and they still live with their habits of the 'old man' evident. God calls us to beat our bodies to bring the old habits under his control so that we, by his grace can form new habits by surrender, to his life in us.
Most of us are ignorant how our bodies and minds work and because of this Satan has taken us for a ride. In the natural we have to form habits; how to dress, brush our teeth and eat for we have not been born with these skills. Same in the spiritual. When we are sanctified God does not give us 'godly habits' – we have to learn them.
2 Peter chapter One is passage that we have either not discovered or we ignore. Get off your 'rear end' and add to your character other godly traits. Failure to do so renders our election unsure. Do we capture the sense of impotance here? Do we grasp the seriouness of Gods word here? Are we trembling as Gods word, sharper than a two edged sword pieces our heart? How are we going to answer the Judge of all the world when we face him and confess a race poorly run?
Changing a habit is a skill but we have an advantage for we have all the resources of heaven at our disposable.
Step one – Make a plan. Forget past failures and step out on the water trusting God to assist you. As Romans 6 says – count yourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Verbalize that this old habit no longer has power over my body – vocalize this before God with conviction and faith. Share your plan with a trusted friend or close knit group who will support you in prayer.
Step two – Stand Firm. Ephesians 6 tells us to stand firm in the armour of God, having made plans stand firm, unshakable in your faith that you will overcome that old habit and form a new habit through surrender to his supernatural life in you.
Step Three – Reward Yourself. Spend time in worship and praise enjoying his presence. Thank him for his strength and rejoice in his grace and peace as he guides youto overcome by his word.
To him who is ableto keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without faultand with great joy--25to the only Godour Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!Amen.
May we discipline our minds and bodies for the time is short for us to get our house in order before the bridegroom appears. When the world starts to fall around us it is too late to begin training.
Thank you John. As always, it's been a real tonic to read your words today!
God has given you a marvelous gift to expound on the themes of your blogs in a uniquely eloquent manner. I especially appreciate the helpful line [below] followed by the Steps One, Two, & Three in your blog of how to achieve the change.
[quote]Changing a habit is a skill but we have an advantage for we have all the resources of heaven at our disposable.[/quote]
I appreciate too how you've so attractively formatted the images with your content. An excellent blog from beginning to end, wmj!
Thank you and God bless.
I like what you said about God does not do what we can do and once again, I find myself thinking back to the analogy of a parent and their child. If we do everything for our child, never allowing them to do anything for themselves, we actually hinder their development and harm them though we intended to help them. My husband and I host a small group on finances several times a year which is sponsored by our church. A common problem is people want God to fix everything but they do not want to change their behavior. They do not want to be honest about why they are in the situation they are in. They simply want a quick fix so they can go back to doing the same things that got them into trouble in the first place.
Instead, they learn that they must be responsible for their actions. God can and will help them but He expects them to take charge of their finances. He expects them to learn how to be good stewards. He expects them to put what they learn into practice. Yes, often it is a long hard road but it is the only way to both bring things under control and keep them under control!
I love the steps gave as well. I think your first step has a point we often neglect:
[quote]Share your plan with a trusted friend or close knit group who will support you in prayer.[/quote]
This simple act is very important because suddenly we put an actually face on accountability. Of course we are always accountable to God but when our friend knows that we are determined to lose 10 pounds and we are meeting with them regularly to discuss our progress, well... you think twice about what you put in your mouth.
How fitting as I just read today in Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers . Love is placed and available to and through us in Christ.
When we encounter difficult people to love (no more than we to the Lord), practice the DISCIPLINE of love by falling on Christ within us for help. Then walking it out. As you say, God isn't going to walk the love out for us. He will empower. Nice work John.