Sermons

Summary: This message reviews all of the 12 spiritual disciplines.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Healthy Habits Review"

Introduction

Today we conclude a long series in the habits or practices that not only cultivate spiritual maturity but enable us to develop greater capacity to relate to God. I want to provide some spiritual direction for the New Year. Today, I will offer some practical suggestions for each discipline and actually engage in each one. These are all elements necessary to develop greater intimacy in ANY relationship. Each discipline or habit serves to diminish the pull of the flesh and release the power of the renewed spirit that brings significant transformation of our life.

I have presented each of them in a somewhat logical order although each discipline interacts with the others and each discipline reinforces the others. The first was time of silence and solitude to practice the others. When we connect with God in silence and solitude we recognize our need to surrender and submit to His will and work in our life. When we humbly submit to His will, we realize how stubborn and rebellious we really are and humble our hearts in confession of our failure to do what we should and fortitude to avoid the things we should not do. With a submitted humble heart we are ready to interact with God’s word without some personal agenda or avoidance and the scripture ignites faith which inspires praise and activates prayer. With a humble, pure, directed, trusting, grateful, prayerful heart we become motivated to sacrifice the things we value most in order to offer ourselves and our resources to the one who gave Himself for us. We are ready to use any and every means to live simply and find ourselves content with knowing He will never leave us or forsake us and will provide whatever is necessary to accomplish what He has asked us to do. Such a state of surrender and connection with God makes us fully usable as servants. As we develop a servant’s heart we find a greater longing to connect with like-hearted people in a meaningful way. Such a level of connection with God and like-minded believers generates an excitement to share with those who do not know Christ. Such believers are prime targets of the enemy to trip up and therefore becomes all the more imperative to be on the alert and take a stand against Satan.

These spiritual disciplines must become our WAY OF LIFE. That is why I call them habits.

Just like any activity, we must expend initial effort to practice them until they become a natural way of life. We must submit to accountability and seek others to keep us faithful.

I. SILENCE AND SOLITUDE

No relationship flourishes without spending some quality time with each other.

David instructed us in the Psalms to be silent (cease striving) and know that He is God.

We live in a hurried culture. Just as stillness allows mud and silt to drop to the bottom and the water clears, so stillness in our lives enables us to see live more clearly. The only way that these elements become habit is by taking time out to develop them. Reserving prime time to meet with God is part of what it means to seek Him. Seeking God requires setting aside time to do it.

It will only happen if it is scheduled like any other important event or appointment. If you don’t schedule time with the family it won’t happen.

Without time, there is no development of intimacy. Life sucks up any undesignated minute of the day. Will you commit to giving time to him?

Daily, extended weekly, half a day monthly, fully day quarterly.

II. SUBMISSION

Every relationship functions best when the terms of the relationship are understood.

What is the commitment level? That level of commitment needs to be expressed to each other from time to time. Marriage, friendship, church members. What is our commitment level to Christ? Is He really our Lord? As a daily exercise we should begin each day reporting for duty.

Affirm Christ as boss of your life and your day. Think about your past week. Any evidence as to who really is boss? Focus, time, resources, purpose, energy? Scripture employs a number of visual pictures empathizing the nature of our relationship with God.

Master, Creator, King, Commander, Boss, Shepherd, infinite God. Pick one and take a moment to reflect on what that means. We need to take time to remind ourselves what God requires of us. Deuteronomy 10:12-14

We need to keep our God-given purpose in view as we begin each day. Lord I resubmit my life to You today! I exist because of You and for You. Reign in me! Reign over me!

III. CONFESSION / REPENTANCE

Every relationship encounters offenses. Broken promises, failure to follow through, hurtful actions and words, indifference, distance, unmet expectations, violated trust. We all do things we shouldn’t and fail to do things we should. These are sins of commission and omission.

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