Summary: Four habits that must be developed to grow spiritually.
1. The habit of time with God’s Word (John 8:31-32).
This will provide you with perspective. In a spiritual sense, it means seeing life from God’s point of view. In the Bible, the words understanding, wisdom, and discernment all have to do with perspective. The opposite of perspective is hardness of heart, blindness, and dullness. Knowledge is learning what God has said and done. Perspective is understanding why God said it or did it. It answers the “why” questions of life. Although all the “why” questions in life can’t and won’t be answered, with perspective you can have peace with the ones that aren’t.
Biblical perspective causes us to love God more. The better we understand the nature and ways of God, the more we love Him (Eph 3:18).
Biblical perspective helps us resist temptation. When we look at sin from God’s viewpoint we see that the long-term consequences are far greater then any short-term pleasure sin might provide. Without perspective we follow our own natural inclinations (Proverbs. 14:12).
Biblical perspective helps us to handle trials. Romans 8:28
Biblical perspective protects us from error. We live in a society that rejects absolute truths and accepts opinions as equally valid. The problem is not that our culture believes nothing, but that they believe everything. Ephesians 4:14
Knowing what to do (knowledge), why to do it (perspective), and how to do it (skill) is all worthless if you don’t have the conviction to motivate you to do it!
Conviction: your values, your commitments, and motivations. A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for. A person without conviction is at the mercy of circumstances. If you don’t’ determine what is important and how you’ll live, other people will determine it for you. Conviction helps us be diligent in continuing to grow spiritually. Growth requires time and effort. Without conviction about growth, people become discouraged and give up. Study how many times Jesus used the words I must.
2. Habit of prayer: a disciple prays and bears fruit (John 15:7-8) This is more than just praying we’re talking about praying with a purpose, to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. For anyone who does not pray at all he cannot call himself a Christian. Prayer is the only way a soul can enter in to communion with God. Make time to pray on a daily bases. Set a high value on praying, as Daniel did, above prestige, honor, leisure, wealth, or life. One of Satan’s tricks is to destroy the best by the good. Business and other duties re good but wee are so filled with these that they crowd out and destroy the best. Having a private place and plenty of time in which to pray, is the life of prayer.
The condition of the prayer is the amount of faith that accompanies the souls words. It’s not the amount of words, or how deep the need is that gets God’s attention it’s the amount of faith. Not only are our prayers to be full of faith but also they are to be persistent. The case of Syrophenciean woman (Mark 7:24-30) is a notable instance of successful persistence. It is one that is highly encouraging to all who pray successfully. It is a remarkable example of insistence and perseverance to ultimate victory in the face of insurmountable obstacles and hindrances. But the woman overcame them all by heroic faith and a persistent spirit.
Among the most brilliant saying of Jesus concerning prayer, none is more interesting than John 14:12-14.
12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
3. Habit of tithing: a disciple is not possessed by his possessions (2 Cor. 9:6-13). God loves a cheerful giver. That’s why verse 7 says God loves a cheerful giver. That word actually means a hilarious giver. You should be hilariously happy that you’re able to invest in God’s work. Thank him for the ability to give because you know God is going to repay you many times
more than what you gave. (3) Give prayerfully. Ask God how much his work needs and what your responsible share is. And, (4) give logically. Determine that it is your best choice to honor God first.
Illustration: W.A. Criswell tells of an ambitious young man who told his pastor he’d promised God a tithe of his income. They prayed for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500.00 per week. He called on the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise, it was too costly now. The pastor replied, "I don’t see how you can be released from your promise, but we can ask God to reduce your income to $40.00 a week, then you’d have no problem tithing $4.00."