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Summary: Stephen Covey has written a book called “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” in which he describes the ingredients that would make successful people and could create strong families. One principle he suggests is to begin with the end in mind. What he me

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TEXT: Romans 15:1-7

Stephen Covey has written a book called “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” in which he describes the ingredients that would make successful people and could create strong families. One principle he suggests is to begin with the end in mind. What he means is that you should ask yourself what kind of family you really want to be and then work toward that vision of your family.

Another habit is Seek first to understand . . . then to be understood. Listen to the thoughts and feelings of others, and then try to communicate your own thoughts and feelings.

A third one is Synergizing. This is about two or more people working together to produce more than they could produce separately by building a mutual problem-solving atmosphere based on loving, learning and cooperation.

There is no doubt in my mind that learning to live together as a family is one of the most important assignments God has given us on this earth. Family relationships provide the foundation for the way we relate to other people in school, at work, and in our neighborhood.

The scripture we read a moment ago lists seven habits that apply to God’s family, the church. The Bible is the story of God building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever and that our spiritual family is even more important than our physical family because it will last forever.

Habit: An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.

An acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically.

Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly, tend to occur subconsciously, without directly thinking consciously about them.

A habit is something you can do without thinking - which is why most of us have so many of them. ~Frank A. Clark

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~Jim Ryun

The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. ~Feodor Dostoevski

The easier it is to do, the harder it is to change. ~Eng's Principle

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it. ~Horace Mann

So today let’s look at these 7 habits in Romans 15 that will make our spiritual family, the church, what it should be.

The first habit is that of consideration for each other. (1,2). In any congregation, you have a mix of people, some who have been here for a long time, some for a short time. When Paul wrote to the churches in Rome, the question was not how long people had been there, but how they applied their faith to their situation. If you read Chapter 14, you see that the problem they were dealing with had to do with whether or not to eat meat. This had nothing to do with eating at the most popular steakhouse in town. But it did have something to do with the pagan religion some of them had come from. In that religion, worshipers offered meat to idols. Some of it the priests ate. Some of it found its way to the meat market. So, new Christians, who gave up offering meat to idols, found themselves facing a dilemma. What if the meat they bought at the market had been offered to idols? They were serving Christ now, not those idols, so they thought it was wrong to eat that meat. And since there was no way of knowing which meat was which, they decided not to eat meat at all.

At the same time, there were those who had come to the church by a different route. And they said, “Christ has given us freedom from such problems. After all, God has created everything and God is over everything. Those idols do not really exist. Just thank God and eat your meat.” Their faith was strong enough to overcome this problem. But it wasn’t that easy for these new Christians.

So if you are one with a strong faith, do you eat the meat or do you not? The principle Paul lays down is, “If, by eating meat, you offend a weak Christian, then don’t eat it.”

Today we don’t have that problem, but the need to consider each other is still there. As Paul says in Romans 14, we don’t live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. The decisions we make, the actions we take, affect the rest of the family. Now some people might object and say, “Hey, wait a minute. That’s not fair. Does that mean we always need to give in to those who are weak in faith?” Just hang on. We aren’t finished yet. The question is, “Are we developing the habit of living our life of faith with an eye to the faith of others in the family of God?”

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