“IF YOU MAKE PRAYER YOUR HABIT IN THE BEGINNING, YOUR HABITS WON’T PREY ON YOU IN THE END”
I want to ask you 5 Questions:
- H – Heart. What’s inside?
- A – Arriving. Are you on the way?
- B – Battle. Are you fighting alone?
- I – Intimacy. Do you know GOD intimately?
- T – Transformation. Are you a new creation?
We are creatures of habit and our habits reflect what is going on inside us; what we value and what we choose to make a part of our life. We may have certain genetic propensities that make our choices more difficult but God is able to give us victory in this life and the life to come – if we will ask in prayer!
REMEMBER: Prayer means to ask.
“For we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with us but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God commands us to develop good habits
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”
But our nature is fallen and we also develop bad habits
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “
So my first question is “do you know God?”
– not, do you know about God but “do you know him personally?”
If the answer is “no,” I am going to help you solve that problem
PRESENT GOSPEL VERY SIMPLY and INVITE TO RESPOND AT END
If the answer is, “I’m not sure,” we can find the answer by looking at the fruit of our life…
If the answer is “yes, but I’m not following him as I should,” I’m going to ask you to decide to make a change (right now) as you listen to my words
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
[Let me just take a moment here to distinguish theologically between your STATE and you STANDING before God –
-Your STATE is your current condition before you are fully sanctified
-Your STANDING is how God sees you now based on His promises and how you will be in heaven when you are fully glorified]
My second question is a little tougher to answer
– do you know God intimately?
- Are your thoughts about him continually?
- Do you pray?
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.”
- Do you desire to serve him?
- Are you willing to make sacrifices to be his follower?
- When you fail do you immediately come to him for forgiveness and restoration?
- Do you find yourself seeking out others who want to be obedient to Christ?
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Our prayer subject is “habits”
But you see we can never behave as we should unless we are changed from the inside out. Our hearts must be changed
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…
Who can understand it?”
And even after we have surrendered our heart to God, we must moment by moment surrender ourself to obedience
1 Corinthians 9:27
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
I’m not talking about the intolerance toward certain behaviors, but SIN; breaking God’s commands. Are you deliberately and intentionally living outside of God’s favor? Are you telling yourself that you can get away with “that” because times are a changing or God doesn’t care?
There is no easy path to discipleship –
Jesus calls us to follow Him … and die
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Your habits are a reflection of your heart and your heart is a reflection of your relationship with Christ … and yielding to the control the Holy Spirit over your life
I am 60 years old and have been a Christ-follower most of my life but It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I began to grasp the concept of surrendering my life to the power of the Holy Spirit.
- How about you?
- Have you given yourself to Jesus?
- Have you fully surrendered to His Spirit?
- Will you do so now?
- Will you recommit yourself to be his devoted follower?
Earlier I said that the fruit of our life reflects what is going on inside
It’s very important to understand this in the right way. We do not change our habits by strength of discipline or hard work but God changes our habits by first changing us from the inside out
STEVE McQueen STORY – “Can I still drink beer?”
Mark Twain said it this way, “habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man, but to be coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
Take the first step now as we pray and surrender yourself to God’s Spirit in your life. Tell a friend about your struggle and work hard to overcome those things which so easily entangle you.
“… So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.”
Summarize in closing prayer
- Heart. It all begins with what’s inside. What is the source of your power?
- Arriving. Heaven is for arriving but are you on the way?
- Battle. The fight is not yours.
- Intimacy. How well do you know God?
- Transformation. If we are in Christ, we are a NEW creation – because God says so.
See the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TuGPj9oLIQ#t=32
This material is copyrighted and may not be sold or redistributed without the express written permission of the author