Are you satisfied with where you are in your spiritual life? The Apostle Paul wasn’t. He said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).” The disciples weren’t. They said, “Lord increase our faith (Luke 17:5).”
Many Christians have told me that they want to be closer to God. Some struggle with sins, addictions, hardened hearts and shame. For many, bad habits that they have developed over time dominate their lives and create a barrier not only to God but also to a stable and satisfying life.
In order to escape the past and enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10) and to live as the new creation that Paul wrote about (2 Corinthians 5:17), we need to develop new habits. This is not about a works-oriented religion. This is about following the teachings of the Bible. In the same way that physical workouts make our bodies stronger, spiritual workouts make our faith stronger.
"Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV
Spiritual workouts involve prayer and Bible study. Practicing these habits daily will draw you closer to God over time. This is especially true when done in the context of a group of believers who will nurture you and pray for you.
Many of us who grew up in the inner city developed bad habits related to survival or the desire to escape. These habits destroy our relationships, our health, our ability to be productive citizens and interfere in our relationship to God. One key element in developing maturity in our faith is substituting good faith habits for our bad habits and surrounding ourselves with a community of believers that will build us up and not tear us down.
This Sunday I will be preaching on developing a closer relationship with God and will podcast the message on this blog.