September 4, 2015

Three Transforming Spiritual Habits

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Matthew 7:24-27

Are you building your life on the rock or on the sand? In the Bible, the rock foundation is a description of Christ. He is the solid rock upon which our faith stands. As the old hymn says, “all other ground is sinking sand.” Christ gave His life for us so that He may live His life through us. The Christian life is Christ in you! Out of His indwelling presence, our faith grows. We cooperate with that growth by developing spiritual habits in our lives through practice.

Jesus illustrates this in His Sermon on the Mount with a story about two groups of people. Both groups hear what Jesus is saying, but only one puts His Words into practice. Jesus said that those who put His words into practice were the ones who built their lives on a solid foundation. We get to determine the measure of our faith as we put God’s Word into practice. Here are three spiritual habits to begin that will strengthen your faith this fall.

  1. The habit of giving – Develop the habit of giving. Giving is the only antidote to greed I know of. It’s the opposite of selfishness and reflects God’s character, as well as trusts in God’s provision. We are most like God when we give from the resources He has blessed us with. How are you doing with the habit of giving? Do you practice that habit regularly? That’s why God instituted tithing. It’s a reminder to us of where all our provision comes. Giving comes from a grateful heart. The Bible says our giving honors God. In Proverbs 3:9, 10 the Bible says, 

Honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income, and He will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines. 

  1. The habit of serving – Christ followers are eager to serve. Even Jesus said that He didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Developing the habit of service is intentional. Look for areas in your church, community, and home where you may serve God by serving others. Connect with others so that you can serve together and accomplish even more. The Bible says, 

You are Christ’s body – that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your ‘part’ mean anything. 1 Cor. 12:27 (MSG) 

  1. The habit of spending time with God – Do you have daily time alone with God? You can practice this habit by setting aside a specific time and place that work best for your schedule. The Bible says, 

Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but truly grasp what you know to be the will of God.  Ephesians 5:16,17 (PH)

I used to wonder where I would find the time to spend alone with God. Then, as I practiced the habit of spending time alone with God, I discovered the mystery of Proverbs 10:27.

Reverence for God adds hours to each day….

I don’t know how this works but it does. Practicing these habits in our lives will lead to strong spiritual faith! It will enable us to endure the inevitable storms of life. We won’t just survive – we’ll thrive – in our relationship with God and others!