Archives For God’s character

Disciplining yourself to do what you know is the right thing to do, at the right time, is a key to a flourishing relationship with God. How many times have you been tempted to do the wrong thing and, ignoring the warning bells going off inside, you give into the temptation? Every time we find ourselves at a decision point, we must ask ourselves how Jesus would decide in such a moment.

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When faced with a moral decision, the spirit of Christ within us informs us which way we should go. The problem is, the choice we know to be consistent with the character of Christ is often the more difficult path to walk. A narrow path is always more problematic to traverse than a wider one.

Disciplining yourself in the smaller choices of life builds your discipline muscle. When you get lazy in the little things, you stand no chance when facing the bigger issues coming your way. For example, we know we should put God first in all things, but how many of us live this out? How often do we wake in the morning, late again, only to rush out of the house without giving hardly a thought to Jesus? Or how many of us take the first portion of our paycheck and give it away to those in need before we pay our own bills? This is nothing but lip-service commitment, and the reason we fail is because we haven’t built the disciplines that will cause our life to reflect our convictions.

If we want to draw closer to God, we’re going to need to live lives that look more like His. If we don’t know Him, how can we expect to live a life worthy of Him? We’re going to need to get close, and achieving this requires establishing some disciplines in our lives which will reflect His character and priorities. Every habit, good or bad, will dictate the course of your life. Let me show you how this plays out in my own life.

When I neglect the habit of beginning my day in prayer, I tend to also disregard my workout routine. When I don’t exercise, I tend not to eat as healthy. When I don’t eat well, I have less patience with others, and less critical thinking skills to deal with what comes my way. When I have a dreadful day, I tend to continue not eating so well when I get home, which means I don’t sleep well. If I don’t sleep well, what do you suppose the odds are I’m going to get up early the next morning to pray? And the cycle begins again…

All of this could have been avoided simply by disciplining myself to begin my day in prayer. It’s a simple and easy thing to do. But we must never forget, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. Disciplining yourself is both easy and difficult. It is easy in that anyone can do it; no exceptional skills are required. It is difficult because it will require you to put Jesus first, and yourself second (or perhaps third or fourth). Most aren’t willing to do this; they would rather enjoy life now and hope for the best later. Disciples of Jesus are a different breed. We are willing to sacrifice short-lived enjoyment in exchange for an eternity with our Creator. Are you willing to begin disciplining yourself, or will you be content with the way things are? Your decision will dictate your future.

What’s the first thing you do when you awaken each morning? While I can’t admit to owning this ritual, I think the first thing we should do is thank God for the security and rest of the previous night and then ask Him how we can be used to build His Kingdom today. One reason we don’t live more powerful Kingdom lives is because we don’t begin our days with the intention of doing so.

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We have no plan, yet we expect God to do great things in our lives. If we aren’t positioning our minds, attitude, and heart towards Him, how can we expect Him to be able to effectively use us?

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For devoted followers of Christ, two things never change regardless of any circumstance. They are your identity and mission. Your identity is who God says you are and is dependent on no one or anything else. Your mission was set by Jesus before He returned to be with His Father; we are to tell everyone about His love and character, and to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to reality on earth (Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 6:10).

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Human tendency is to focus on what is going on around us, what is affecting our comfort and our plans, and allow those things to define who we are and what we do with our lives. And thus we fall into another of Satan’s insidious traps.

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It seems few of us live our lives with any recognition of the very real spiritual battle raging all around us. Real angels and real demons clash in ways that affect our physical world in tangible ways, but we carry on oblivious to it. In his book, “You and Me Forever”, Francis Chan says, “He has given us a clear mission – to make disciples. Yet Christian[s]… can most typically be found… skipping through life, ignoring the battle that rages around them. We have made happy families our mission. That is not the mission Jesus gave us.” We are to tell people about the trustworthy character of God, the sacrifice of His Son, and to make them aware of the battle that rages around us all. We are to help them follow in the footsteps of Jesus and strike back at the forces of Satan.

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