For The Week Of: May 22, 2022
For the next several weeks our lessons will center around:
1. Spiritual Growth Is A Choice:
2. Spiritual Growth And Self-Esteem:
3. Goals For Spiritual Growth:
4. Habits For Spiritual Growth:
5. The Importance Of A Positive Attitude:
6. The Need For Perseverance:
7. The Value Of Role Models:
8. Concluding Thoughts:
Lesson Number Four: Habits For Spiritual Growth
1. In our previous lesson we talked about goals for spiritual growth...
a. Behavioral goals - in which we seek to become like Jesus, emulating His character
b. Functional goals - in which we aim to determine and develop our abilities and functions in the body of Christ
c. Congregational goals - in which we unite in our aspirations to grow as a congregation as well as individual Christians
2. To meet our goals requires the development of good habits...
a. Habits are stepping stones which ensure that we eventually meet our goals
b. 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!
[What are some good habits that will help us meet our spiritual goals? Let's first consider a few that will help us meet our behavioral goals, what we might describe as...]
I. BEHAVIORAL HABITS
A. BIBLE READING...
1. The Word of God is crucial to growing spiritually - 1Pe 2:2
a. David described the value of God's Word - Ps 19:7-11
b. He also illustrated the blessedness and fortitude of one who meditated daily on the Word of God - Ps 1:1-3
2. The Christian who wants to grow spiritually must therefore develop the habit of daily Bible reading...
a. Such as reading through the Bible each year (about 3 chapters a day)
b. Or perhaps the New Testament one year, the Old Testament the next
-- By feeding upon God's Word daily, we receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to grow; have you developed the habit of daily Bible reading?
1. The practice of prayer is also required for spiritual growth
a. Through prayer we find mercy and grace to help - He 4:16
b. Through prayer we find peace to guard our hearts Php 4:6-7
2. The Christian must therefore continue steadfastly in prayer - Ro 12:12
a. Perhaps emulating the example of David - cf. Ps 55:17
b. And the custom of Daniel, who prayed three times daily - cf. Dan 6:10
-- 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?
1. Praising God in song is also conducive to spiritual growth
a. David, the man after God's own heart, developed the practice of praising God daily - cf. Ps 104:33; 119:164
b. If we teach one another through songs, do we not also teach ourselves when we sing? - cf. Col 3:16
2. The Christian should make singing a habit that is second nature to him or her
a. When happy, we should sing - Jm 5:13
b. In times of trial, we should sing - cf. Ac 16:25 -- 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!
1. Assembling together with other Christians is very important - He 10:24-25
a. It is a means of stimulating each one to love and good works
b. We exhort one another in our service to Christ
2. Therefore Christians should make a strong habit of attending church
a. Attending as often as possible, for worship, Bible study, etc
b. The more we attend, the stronger the habit becomes; the less we attend, the weaker the habit becomes
-- 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!
[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. 2Co 3:18). Assembling together brings us closer to one another, and provides the opportunity to develop our functional goals in the body of Christ. That leads us to our next point, in which we consider what I call...]
II. FUNCTIONAL HABITS
A. ASSEMBLING TOGETHER WITH THE CHURCH...
1. Yes, we have already mentioned the habit of assembling with Christians
a. But that was in connection with your personal spiritual growth
b. If we are to reach our functional goals, it will be within the framework of the local church
2. Through frequent assembling with the church...
a. We become familiar with identities and needs of other members
b. We learn what functions are needed in the body of Christ - cf. Ro 12:3-8
c. We are given opportunity to be of service to one another
-- 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
B. PARTICIPATION IN THE WORK OF THE CHURCH...
1. Such as the habit of participating in the assemblies of the church...
a. E.g., teaching classes, preaching, Bible reading, leading singing
b. E.g., ushering, counting attendance, serving the Lord's Supper
c. E.g., a young man desiring to grow might develop the habit of participating in the following activities, starting with what is easy and progressing to the more difficult: Serving on the Lord's table Reading Scripture Leading the closing prayer Leading the opening prayer Serving as usher, welcoming and seating visitors Presiding at the Lord's table Making announcements Extending the invitation Leading singing
2. Such as the habit of providing for other services needed in the church
a. E.g., greeting visitors, ministering to the sick, encouraging the weak, teaching the gospel to the lost
b. E.g., cleaning the building, providing maintenance for the building and grounds, preparing the Lord's Supper -- 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!
[Finally, a thought or two about...]
III. CONGREGATIONAL HABITS
A. DEFINING ROLES THAT ARE AVAILABLE...
1. Participation in functional roles is more likely when members are aware of what needs to be done
2. A congregation can encourage spiritual growth by clearly defining what functional roles are available for service
-- A congregation needs to be in the habit of letting its members know what kind of functional roles are available
B. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN AND SERVE...
1. Opportunities to learn, to serve, and thereby grow need to be provided - 2Ti 2:2
a. E.g., providing training classes to develop various abilities
b. E.g., making sure those trained are making good use of their abilities
2. The habit of developing a duty roster can assist in this
a. In which people are assigned to serve in various capacities
b. Making sure that all who wish to serve are given opportunities
-- Each congregation should have some habitual way of training and involving its members in the work and worship of the church
C. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES OF SERVICE...
1. A congregation should also be in the habit of encouraging spiritual growth
2. One good habit is to let the inexperienced gain experience; for example...
a. Allowing those who desire to preach the opportunity to do so
b. Such as providing one night a month for them to preach
c. Such as encouraging them to fill-in preach for neighboring congregations
-- 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
1. Remember, goals are obtained whenever good habits are established...
a. The creation of good habits sets the stage for spiritual growt
b. As spiritual habits are developed, spiritual growth is incremental but steady
2. Wholesome and well-rounded spiritual growth occurs wherever... Teaching the adult classes Preaching sermons
a. An individual develops both behavioral and functional habits that will help them along to reaching their behavioral and functional goals
b. A congregation promotes habits that will encourage participation in its work, especially in helping Christians develop their functional goals in the body of Christ Are we developing the kind of habits that will help us grow spiritually