As the summer begins with the quarantine still in full effect in New York City, I wanted to provide a space and a hangout where we could learn, discuss and practice habits that would impact us for our entire lives.
This is something that I’m very serious about because I see a lot of Christians who feel stuck in their faith and who continue to struggle or come to struggle even more with issues and sins in their lives, no matter how hard they try.
And in terms of spiritual growth, I see a lot of people rely more on their moments of inspiration and experiences to sustain their faith rather than cultivating biblical habits or disciplines that prepare Christians to weather through any storms in this life. These issues are amplified even more as we live in a culture where everything is instant. Instant food, instant gratification, instant results.
I see people so focused, committed and disciplined when it comes to their own passions, whether its to build their careers or learning to play and instrument, investing countless hours and even money to accomplish their goals. But when it comes to faith, people give up quickly, thinking that becoming like Jesus won’t take much effort.
But spiritual growth and maturity can’t be obtained instantly and through moments of inspiration. It requires commitment and effort to build habits of faith, to build spiritual disciplines. But before we get into any of the doing, we took this week to talk about the purpose and motivation behind building habits of faith. This is important because the wrong spiritual striving will either lead to legalism, criticism and burnout or lead to the complete opposite to compromise and spiritual irresponsibility.
The Right Motivation
The motives for building habits of faith are different from the motives of the world’s self-improvement. The motives behind self-improvement is the improvement of ourselves ultimately for the sake of ourselves. The motives behind building habits of faith, although they do create improvements in ourselves, is not ultimately for our sake, but for the glory of God.
In other words, habits of faith aren’t like the self-improvement of this world because it ultimately isn’t about becoming a better version of me but it’s about becoming a completely new person. The right motivation requires us to die to ourselves and no, not live a new life of our own but live in a new life found in Jesus.
Also, we are not motivated to build these habits of faith to be qualified in any way for godliness. What I mean is, we cannot earn our godliness by our doing. We cannot become holy by our own efforts. And if we do not understand this well, it will lead us to the dangerous striving of religious people.
This is the basis of the Gospel too. We live in the reality that we are sinners in need of a savior. We acknowledge that we are inherently evil, maybe not in the most sinister ways, but we are still selfish, prideful, weak and imperfect. And nothing we do can ever earn our salvation. It was our sinfulness that made us deserve the wrath of God. And when death comes, nobody who is in sin can escape the judgment to come.
Salvation is entirely a gift from God through Jesus Christ who died to pay the penalty of our sins, so that we might be forgiven. And not only to be forgiven, but also to be made brand new. To have a new life in Jesus Christ, given His resurrection life in exchange for our life of wrath and judgment.
So when we build habits of faith for the purpose of godliness, it is important to know that these habits are not a means to obtain a salvation. We devote ourselves to these spiritual disciplines from the place of already being called sons and daughters of God, already having obtained salvation.
With the wrong motivations, these habits will become a striving in your life that will weigh you down. But with the right motivations, these habits will bring you life and joy and fulfillment.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.1 Timothy 4:7-10
Join me every Monday and Wednesday at 11AM ET for a zoom hangout to start building habits of faith that will guide you for the rest of your life! Each week will be a different topic or habit to learn, discuss and share with other college students and young adults. Follow the link below for our zoom meeting.
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