YOUR COMMITMENT SHAPES YOUR LIFE


Saturday, 31st October 2020

2 Peter 3:11 – Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.

You don’t have to understand all the implications of your decision when you choose to follow Jesus. You simply need to respond to His invitation and make a commitment to follow Him.

Your commitments shape your life more than anything else. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you, because we become whatever we’re committed to.

It is at this point of commitment that most people miss God’s purpose for their lives. Many are afraid to commit to anything, and they just drift through life. Others make half-hearted commitments to competing values, which leads to frustration and mediocrity. Others make a full commitment to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and they end up disappointed and bitter.

Every choice has eternal consequences, so you need to choose wisely: “Since everything around us is going to pass away, we ought to live holy and godly lives.” (2 Peter 3:11).

Christlikeness comes from making Christlike commitments.

REFLECTION
– Based on your commitments, what might people assume about you?
– What keeps you from committing to things that will help you develop Christlikeness?
– How can the urgency of 2 Peter 3:11 affect the way you make your commitments?

GOD IS NEVER IN A HURRY


Friday, 30th October 2020

James 1:4 – Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Be patient with God and with yourself. One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life.

Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity. The Bible is filled with examples of how God uses a long process to develop character, especially in leaders. He took 80 years to prepare Moses, including 40 in the wilderness.

Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process. Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.

Don’t get discouraged. When Habakkuk became depressed because he didn’t think God was acting quickly enough, God had this to say: “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Habakkuk 2:3).

Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. Please be patient. God is not finished with you yet. So keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!

REFLECTION
– What are some lessons you have learned when God has delayed something in your life?
– What do you think God wants you to do when you get discouraged with His timing?
– How can you show patience with others like God is patient with you? How can you encourage people today in their spiritual growth?

YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH CHART


Thursday, 29th October 2020

Hebrews 2:1 – It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.

As you grow to spiritual maturity, you will have to cooperate with God in the process. One way to do that is to believe God is working in your life, even when you don’t feel it.

Spiritual growth is sometimes tedious work, one small step at a time. Expect gradual improvement. The Bible says, “Everything on earth has its own time and its own season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

There are seasons in your spiritual life, too. Sometimes you will have a short, intense burst of growth followed by a period of stabilising and testing.

What about those problems, habits, and hurts you would like miraculously removed? It’s fine to pray for a miracle, but don’t be disappointed if the answer comes through a gradual change. Over time, a slow, steady stream of water will erode the hardest rock and turn giant rocks into fine pebbles. Over time, a little sprout can turn into a giant sequoia tree (one of the world’s biggest tree).

Keep a journal of lessons learned. This is not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about Him, yourself, life, relationships, and everything else. Record these so you can review and remember them and pass them on to the next generation (see Psalm 102:18 and 2 Timothy 3:14).

The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. Reviewing your spiritual journal regularly can spare you a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache. The Bible says, “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off” (Hebrews 2:1).

REFLECTION
– How have you seen yourself grow in spiritual maturity in the last month? The last year?
– What season of spiritual growth are you in right now?
– What are some ways that you can keep a spiritual journal?

GROWTH TAKES TIME


Tuesday, 27th October 2020

Ephesians 4:22-24 – So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Although God could instantly transform us, He has chosen to develop us slowly. Jesus was deliberate in developing His disciples, just as God allowed the Israelites to take over the Promised Land “little by little” so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed (Deuteronomy 7:22). He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives.

Why does it take so long to change and grow up? There are several reasons:

1. We are slow learners: We often have to relearn a lesson 40 or 50 times to really get it. The problems keep recurring, and we think, “Not again! I’ve already learned that!” But God knows better. The history of Israel illustrates how quickly we forget the lessons God teaches us and how soon we revert to our old patterns of behavior. We need repeated exposure.

2. We have a lot to unlearn: Since most of our problems — and all of our bad habits — didn’t develop overnight, it’s unrealistic to expect them go away immediately. There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement. The Bible calls it “taking off the old self” and “putting on the new self” (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:7-10, 14).

3. Growth is often painful and scary: There is no growth without change, there is no change without fear or loss, and there is no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind. We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self-defeating, because, like a worn-out pair of shoes, they were at least comfortable and familiar.

4. Good habits take time to develop: Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind. Your habits define your character.

There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: You must practice them — and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15).

REFLECTION
– Why do you think God allows us to go through pain and loss while we are growing spiritually?
– What is a bad habit that you’ve had trouble changing? How is God helping you with this right now in your life?
– What one thing do you need to practice doing every day so that you are developing more Christlike character?