Galatians 6:7-10 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 6:8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 6:9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 6:10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.
1Tim. 4:7 But reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness. 4:8 For “physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.” 4:9 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 4:10 In fact this is why we work hard and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.
1: Reading the Bible
Christians believe that the Bible is inspired by God and authoritative for our lives. But we need to understand the Bible for ourselves, so that requires the basic habit of Bible study and reading daily or weekly.
The habit of holiness that the Spirit wants to lead us into here involves an understanding of the sufficiency, authority, clarity, and necessity of Scripture through regular and meaningful exposure to the Word he inspired. His goal is to deepen our pleasure in God’s word and give us an ability to rightly understand and apply it. He wants to train us to consistently turn there to nourish our souls, orient our lives under Christ’s Lordship, and equip ourselves for fruitful ministry (2 Tim 3:14-17). We will seek to develop a regular and systematic intake of God’s word including reading, hearing, studying, meditating, and applying the Bible.
Time alone with God in His Word, the Scriptures, is the great necessity of our spiritual lives. We need to be alone with God daily! We need to find times to get away alone. Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. The Lord God of the Universe wants to Arrange your life, and Accompany you trip through life, and authorize everything needed from now on. Wow, that is the best life there is.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Effective Christians are effective because their lives are powered by the Word of God. They know what God says and that knowledge empowers them to make right choices in more consistent ways. They resist temptation because they have God's Word on their hearts and on their minds. They are more able to stand up for right, give right advice, say the right thing at the right time because they know what right is, they can even quote it.
You cannot be very effective as a Christian (in preserving your faith or sharing it with others) if you do not know and obey the Word and you cannot know it if you do not read it. Effective Christians begin to pull away from immaturity and entanglement with sin and the world to the degree that they develop the #1 habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis.
The Christian life is more than a religion, it is a relationship with a personal God. Just like any relationship, communication is essential. That is what the habit of prayer is all about.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Never stop praying.
The Place of Prayer
by R.C. Sproul
What is the goal of the Christian life? Godliness born of obedience to Christ. Obedience unlocks the riches of the Christian experience. Prayer is what prompts and nurtures obedience, putting the heart into the proper “frame of mind” to desire obedience.
What do those in heaven have in common? Several things. They have all been justified, having put their faith in the atonement of Christ. They are all praising God. And they have all prayed for salvation. To be without prayer is to be without God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the hope and reality of heaven.
Second, one of the surest marks of the Christian is his prayer life. One might pray and not be a Christian, but one could not possibly be a Christian and not pray. Romans 8:15 tells us that the spiritual adoption that has made us sons of God causes us to cry out in verbal expressions: “Abba! Father.” Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to life, yet no duty of the Christian is so neglected.
So, we are invited, even commanded, to pray. Prayer is both a privilege and a duty, and any duty can become laborious. Prayer, like any means of growth for the Christian, requires work. In a sense, prayer is unnatural to us. Though we were created for fellowship and communion with God, the effects of the Fall have left most of us lazy and indifferent toward something as important as prayer. Rebirth quickens a new desire for communion with God, but sin resists the Spirit.
Prayer is the secret of holiness—if holiness, indeed, has anything secretive about it. If we examine the lives of the great saints of the church, we find that they were great people of prayer. John Wesley once remarked that he didn’t think much of ministers who didn’t spend at least four hours per day in prayer. Luther said that he prayed regularly for an hour every day except when he experienced a particularly busy day. Then he prayed for two hours.
The neglect of prayer is a major cause of stagnation in the Christian life. Consider the example of Peter in Luke 22:39-62. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray as was his custom and told his disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” The disciples fell asleep instead. The next thing Peter did was try to take on the Roman army with a sword; then he denied Christ. Peter did not pray and as a result fell into temptation. What is true of Peter is also true of all of us: we fall in private before we ever fall in public.
Connecting with the people around us in a meaningful way is the natural result of connecting with God. The habit of connection is all about discovering and sharing God’s truth in the context of intentional relationships through a variety of groups. Without God’s people helping us to discover and live the truth, it’s difficult to live to honor God on a regular basis.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…
The Christian life is not only about what we can get. The most mature Christians are givers. We can give our time, our talent, and our treasure.
2 Corinthians 8:7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
Another key “habit of holiness” is the spiritual discipline of “giving.” Again, the Christian virtue of graciousness, others centeredness, mercy, and faithful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to a person, come into play here. Very few activities in the Christian life demonstrate and unveil the true heart of a person more than his/her willingness to freely give of their time, money, and resources to see another person helped, encouraged, sustained and strengthened. Indeed, very few disciplines more clearly demonstrate a person’s command of the gospel—and its control of them. Giving of ourselves, our money, time, etc. is to be a foundational attitude, virtue, and practice in the Christian life. It is generated by thankfulness for Christ’s grace and mercy, exercised in holiness (i.e., we are to give freely and not to hold people in our debt), and consistently practiced according to godly wisdom (2 Cor 9:6-8).
Malachi 3:8-11 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…
A life given back to God as an offering is what stewardship is all about. Stewardship is not about money it is about life itself. Time and life are far greater treasures than money and possessions. God wants you 1st and foremost! A godly steward knows that god owns him and everything he has.
He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from God’s treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he's moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from his treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice. Is the passing of time causing you and me to despair or rejoice?
God's kingdom was the reference point for these men. They saw all else in light of the kingdom. They were compelled to live as they did not because they treasured no things, but because they treasured the right things.
We often miss something in missionary martyr Jim Elliot's famous words, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." We focus on his willingness to go to the mission field. That willingness started when he relinquished his hold on things as MINE!
5. Evangelism The consistent discipline of sharing the gospel is foundational in the Christian life and is a key expression of the virtues of faithfulness, wisdom, and thankfulness. Therefore, the virtuous Christian makes it a habit to be sharing the gospel with various people, doing it with graciousness and love and in a variety of ways suitable to the circumstances. Thus a maturing disciple of Christ has a clear understanding of what the gospel is and what it is not. Further, he/she has experienced the gospel’s life transforming power and are constantly learning new methods for sharing it. They have disciplined themselves to search the scriptures so as to give careful answers in evangelistic discussions. They have a habit of thinking through the gospel and its relationship to unbelievers.
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea... and to the end of the earth.
Mark 16:15-19 And He said to them, “Go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. … 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
6. Disciple others/Mentoring
Jesus called every disciple to make disciples. Mentoring (disciple-making) as a Christian is as easy as helping someone discover the truth of God’s Word and inviting them to live it out in their everyday lives.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you….
Mark 3:14 Then Jesus appointed twelve, that they would be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Paul is speaking about the need for Timothy to speak only what has been spoken to him. This training has several aspects.
• Need to be Communicated
• Mutual Accountability and friendship
• Teach others
If you haven’t practiced one of these habits before, start trying out that habit in your life. Or, think about which habit you are weakest in doing, and take steps to develop that habit in your life.
7. Fellowship Christ-like disciples realize and value the fact that they have not been called to be lone rangers, but instead to interrelate within the body of Christ. They have been called to loving, nurturing relationships that transcend spiritual gifts and are given by God for encouragement, protection and discipline. Thus we are to learn to make deep and satisfying relationships—through wise transparency—for it is in this context, i.e., being rooted and grounded in love (a love that is increasingly knowledgeable about its object) that we personally grow in Christlikeness, encourage others to do the same, and come to understand the breadth and profundity of Christ’s love for us (Eph 3:14-20). Thus, it is both a responsibility and blessing to share all things in common with God’s people. Therefore, the virtuous Christian seeks to fellowship with other Christians on a regular basis, opening his/her life to trusted friends, expectant about what God wants to do through them by way of love, encouragement, rebuke, and instruction (Rom 15:14).
Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
The Way to Change/Grow
Recognize weakness or problem
Pray for Wisdom to overcome and improve
Be absolutely determined to change and improve
Plan with steps to improve
Daily Pray for Holy Spirit: Filling and zeal/passion
Start with your Step 1 …
Aim and Strive to fulfill plan
Titus 3:4-8 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.