Saturday, January 23, 2010

Daily Digest #388

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart. —Psalm 51:17

Allow me to share an article about habits and hope from the Purpose Driven Life online (read below).

Molded into Godly Character

Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)

Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act. The Bible says, "Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"(Ephesians 4:24 NIV).

God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us. All three are indispensable for character development. God's Word provides the truth we need to grow, God's people provide the support we need to grow, and circumstances provide the environment to practice Christlikeness.

If you study and apply God's Word, connect regularly with other believers, and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances, I guarantee you will become more like Jesus.

Many people assume all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study and prayer. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study or prayer alone. God uses people. He usually prefers to work through people rather than perform miracles, so that we will depend on each other for fellowship. He wants us to grow together.

In many religions, the people considered to be the most spiritually mature and holy are those who isolate themselves from others in mountaintop monasteries, uninfected by contact with other people.

But this is a gross misunderstanding. Spiritual maturity is not a solitary, individual pursuit!

You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. You must be around other people and interact with them. You need to be a part of a church and community.

Why? Because true spiritual maturity is all about learning to love like Jesus, and you can't practice being like Jesus without being in relationship with other people.

Remember that during this Christmas season, when your family or friends challenge your ability to respond like Jesus!!

Remember, it's all about love - loving God and loving others.

It reminded me of Jesus' story, when he asked the lame sitting by the pool for 40 years if he wanted to be healed.... I learned that the first essential step towards growth and healing is the desire for change. It struck me because I was thinking about habits yesterday as I waited for the bus.... how thoughts can turn into actions, actions into habits, and habits into character... how the habit of laziness kills the opportunity to change and become better each day, wasting time going through the same problems and realizing the same solutions... . how bad habits can cause delays in what God has already started in me.... and how constant prayer and focus can help break these habits...

When Jesus saw the man again, He said, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." From here, I gathered that when we don't break our bad habits, we cannot expect things to get better. Otherwise, we would be like fools doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank you for the gift of choice... for giving us opportunities to learn, repent and change every day and be closer to You. We humbly ask for strength to face our fears and weaknesses. May we remain faithful no matter how hard things get, and trust that we are being molded into Your Son's likeness. Amen.

Enjoy the rest of the day! Pray always. God bless!

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