SPIRITUAL GROWTH – 4
Habits For Spiritual Growth
In our previous lesson we talked about goals for spiritual growth…
1. Behavioral goals – in which we seek to become like Jesus, emulating His character
2. Functional goals – in which we aim to determine and develop our abilities and functions in the body of Christ
3. Congregational goals – in which brethren unite in our aspirations to grow as a congregation as well as individual Christians
B. To meet our goals requires the development of good habits…
1. Habits are stepping stones which ensure that we eventually meet our goals
2. Habits are things done on a frequent basis (daily, weekly, etc.) that slowly produce a certain effect — Unless we establish good habits, bad habits will set in that hinder our spiritual growth!
C. What are some good habits that will help us meet our spiritual goals?
A. BEHAVIORAL HABITS
1. Bible Reading
a. The Word of God is crucial to growing spiritually – 1 Peter 2:2
1) Its value… Psalm 19:7-11
2) The blessedness and fortitude of one who meditated daily on the Word of God – Psalm 1:1-3
b. The Christian who wants to grow spiritually must therefore develop the habit of daily Bible reading…
1) Such as reading through the Bible each year
2) By feeding upon God’s Word daily, we receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to grow; have you developed the habit of daily Bible reading?
a. Prayer is also required for spiritual growth
1) Hebrews 4:16
2) Philippians 4:6-7
b. The Christian must therefore continue steadfastly in prayer – Romans 12:12
1) Emulating the example of David -Psalm 55:17
2) And the custom of Daniel – Daniel 6:10
c. Just as we must listen to God daily through His Word, so we must talk to Him daily if we are to grow; have you developed the habit of praying regularly?
a. Praising God in song is also conducive to spiritual growth
1) David developed the practice of praising God daily – Psalm 104:33; 119:164
2) If we teach one another through songs, do we not also teach ourselves when we sing? – cf. Colossians 3:16
b. The Christian should make singing a habit that is second nature to him or her
1) When happy, we should sing – James 5:13
2) In times of trial, we should sing – cf. Acts 16:25
c. As we develop the habits of daily Bible reading and prayer, let us also develop the habit of singing praises to God daily if we seek to grow!
a. Assembling together with other Christians is very important – Hebrews 10:24-25
1) It is a means of stimulating one another to love and good works
2) We exhort one another in our service to Christ
b. Therefore Christians should make a strong habit of attending church
1) Attending as often as possible, for worship, Bible study, etc.
2) The more we attend, the stronger the habit becomes; the less we attend, the weaker the habit becomes
c. Christians who make it a habit to skip the assemblies struggle in their efforts to grow spiritually; no Christian has become stronger by neglecting the assembly!
5. The formation and exercise of such behavioral habits builds the foundation for solid spiritual growth that leads to maturity in Christ. Bible study, prayer, and singing bring us closer to God which can transform our character (cf. 2 Co 3:18).
a. Assembling together brings us closer to one another, and provides the opportunity to develop our functional goals in the body of Christ.
b. That leads us to our next point, in which we consider what I call…
B. FUNCTIONAL HABITS
1. Assembling Together With The Church
a. Yes, we have already mentioned the habit of assembling with Christians
1) But that was in connection with your personal spiritual growth
2) If we are to reach our functional goals, it will be within the framework of the local church
b. Through frequent assembling with the church…
1) We become familiar with identities and needs of other members
2) We learn what functions are needed in the body of Christ – cf. Romans 12:3-8
3) We are given opportunity to be of service…
c. The habit of going to church is essential if we are going to be of much use to the Lord’s church; otherwise, we cannot be counted on for much service
2. Participation In The Work Of The Church
a. Such as the habit of participating in the assemblies of the church…teaching classes, leading singing, ushering, counting attendance, serving the Lord’s Supper, etc.
b. Such as the habit of providing for other services needed in the church… greeting visitors, ministering to the sick, encouraging the weak, teaching the gospel to the lost, providing maintenance for the building and grounds, etc.
c. If we hope to reach our functional goals in which we are useful to the Master, then we need to make participation in the work of the church a habit!
C. CONGREGATIONAL HABITS
1. Defining Roles That Are Available
a. Participation in functional roles is more likely when members are aware of what needs to be done
b. A congregation can encourage spiritual growth by clearly defining what functional roles are available for service
c. A congregation needs to be in the habit of letting its members know what kind of services are available
2. Providing Opportunities To Learn And Serve
a. 2 Timothy 2:2
1) Providing training classes to develop various abilities
2) E.g., making sure those trained are making good use of their abilities
b. The habit of developing a duty roster can assist in this
1) In which people are assigned to serve in various capacities
2) Making sure that all who wish to serve are given opportunities
c. Each congregation should have some habitual way of training and involving its members in the work and worship of the church
3. Encouraging Participation Activities Of Service
a. A congregation should also be in the habit of encouraging spiritual growth
b. One good habit is to let the inexperienced gain experience; for example…
c. A congregation should have the habit of encouraging participation, even if it means utilizing those who are inexperienced, nervous or awkward, even if it means letting them to go to serve elsewhere as the need arises
A. Remember, goals are obtained whenever good habits are established…
1. The creation of good habits sets the stage for spiritual growth
2. As spiritual habits are developed, spiritual growth is incremental but steady
B. Wholesome and well-rounded spiritual growth occurs when
1. An individual develops both behavioral and functional habits that will help them along to reaching their behavioral and functional goals
2. A congregation promotes habits that will encourage participation in its work, especially in helping Christians develop their functional goals in the body of Christ
C. Are we developing the kind of habits that will help us grow spiritually?