Quarter’s Theme: Discovering Spiritual Maturity
Unit 3 Theme: Standing Steadfastly In Spiritual Height (Lessons 10-12)
CONSECRATION & DEDICATION MONTHS
Sunday 8/2/ 2015
HOW TO START & MAINTAIN GOOD HABITS
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 190, 225
Devotional Reading: TIT. 2:11-15
Topic For Adults
MAKE IT TO THE SUCCESS POINT
Topic For Youths
BE SECURELY NOTED IN CHRIST
Topic For Intermediates
HOW TO HAVE AND MAINTAIN GOOD CHARACTER
2 COR 5:12-21; ECCL. 11:4; HEB. 7:25; 2 TIM. 1:7; PHIL. 2:12-13; ACTS 11:15-24
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to Will and to do for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Spiritual Growth – Lifelong Quest
God’s ultimate goal for each Christian is spiritual stature of Jesus Christ. We are all at different levels of faith and different levels of knowing Jesus. Many are still spiritual babes; some have grown to some level, while a few have grown to the level of maturity. No one should consider himself to have arrived, because we are still far from having the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. We all should strive to grow daily; and as we do, we become established in faith and in the knowledge of Him – established such that we become immune to deception by men through their false doctrines and their craftiness. We also get equipped to do the work of the ministry – no one remains a bench-warmer and no one remains idle in the Church. God has made all necessary provisions for this growth within His body by endowing some with spiritual gifts to operate in the ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There is no excuse for spiritual stagnation.
Point of Emphasis: Growth, either physical or spiritual, is a life-long process.
Prayer Point: Father, assist me to grow spiritually until I attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
A Christian is quickened from the life of sin and saved by grace. It is equally important not to be contended with having testimony of being born again and remain a baby in Christ. There is a need to press forward to greater heights in our relationship and communion with God and fellow people. It is prudent not to remain complacent but strive to grow in grace by feeding on God’s word and applying the principles therein into our lives. The more one knows Christ personally, the more one will be like Him in habit. This week’s lesson attempts to tutor us on how to start and maintain good habits.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
I. HABIT IS LEARNED NOT EARNED: 2 COR. 5:12-21; ECCL. 11:4; HEB. 7:25
Your habit tells how well you represent Christ. The question is, “what does your habit or life say about Christ?” God wants us to develop habits that will make us to share in His holiness and avoid anything that will make our profession at Christ to be doubted. Habit is not earned but learned, persistent practice constitutes an habit. The hints below will help us to start and maintain good habits. There are seven steps and they are:
1) You must start with a strong desire, internally motivated with a view to making it to the success point.
2) Don’t differ your action. You should not wait for perfect conditions before you start doing something (Eccl. 11:4)
3) Make a covenant about your intention. Put it in writing and make it public. The power of a vow is great.
4) Don’t make excuse, ensure that the new habit is deeply rooted in you. Never compromise as this will reinforce loss of self-control. Be determined to do what you seek after repeatedly on daily basis because it takes 3 to 4 weeks for habit to be securely rooted.
5) When you are prompted to practise your new habit, just do it without hesitation.
6) Find somebody who is willing to hold you accountable before the habit is firmly rooted in you (Heb. 13:17).
7) You must depend freely on God to help you establish the habit. You should always remember that the devil does not want you to neuter the bad habits and nurture the good ones. Therefore, pray to God for divine help.
II. RELY ON GOD’S POWER TO ‘NEUTER’ BAD HABITS: 2 TIM. 1:7; PHIL. 2:12-13; HOS. 7:8-9
The word ‘neuter’ means to render impotent or render powerless. There are various habits that God wants us to neuter and these vary from individual to individual. These habits are like foe that devour our spiritual strength and clogs in the wheels of our progress. Each alphabet in the word ‘NEUTER’ is used here to denote some of these habits.
N – Negative outlook on life: Like the ten sceptical spies that brought depressing report from the land of Canaan, some see adversities and not opportunities in life. They hope for the worst while they should hope for the best. This can make one to miss great prospects and glorious opportunities. Avoid it.
E – Ensuring pursuits of the world. Some are deformed because they have conformed to the world rather than be transformed by the Spirit of God. Stop entangling with the affairs of the world (2 Tim. 2:4).
U – Ungodly companion or association. Some who are ignorant of Satan’s strategy in making the corrupting entertainment formats readily available and affordable have lost the richness of their relationship with God by becoming addicted to these devices.
T – Talkativeness: Some drain their spiritual strength with their inability to bridle their tongue since unbridled tongue is one of Satan’s vehicle of destruction, they brought miseries on themselves and destroy the faith and lives of others (Prov. 10:19).
E – Excessive Pampering of the flesh: Many blessings have been missed or delayed because some so-called believers could not discipline their flesh. Some have strangled their spirit man and spiritual gifts through indulgence of sleep and love of comfort and pleasure.
R – Rancorous emotions. Some make no progress because they have formed the habit of harbouring the rancorous and self-destructive feelings of resentment, bitterness and revenge in their minds. We must “let go” of the past hurts so as to be released from the prison of hatred. We must forgive because it brings great joy.
Continue with the Lord to nurture good habits – Acts 11:15-24:
There are good habits that we must ‘NURTURE’ in order to build a solid foundation for a strong victorious Christian life on earth and a joyful existence in eternity. To “nurture” is to feed and develop. The character in the word denotes the habits for our consideration.
N – Nourishing the inward man. We must feel our inward man regularly on daily basis (2 Cor. 4:16).
U – Unfeigned loved for God and man. If we want the best from God then we must rededicate and recommit ourselves to God’s service and renew our commitment to obeying Him (Matt. 6:33; Eccl. 11:1).
R – Reaching for greater height: Forget our past achievements and reach out for greater spiritual heights (Phil. 3:13).
T – Togetherness with God’s children: The habit of regular fellowship with God’s children has so much power and potential to prosper and preserve us spiritually.
U – Unwavering Faith In God’s promises: We must learn to trust God to fulfil His promises in all ramification of our lives. God is all-sufficient, let’s cast our needs upon Him because He cares.
R – Readiness for Christ’s return: Always make it a habit to cross examine yourself, if you are ready for the rapture, should the Lord come suddenly.
E – Endless passion for soul winning: Create a greater passion for outreach. There are still many souls blinded by Satan and shackled by sin. Make preaching the gospel your delight perhaps you can win some.
No one can neuter bad habits by his or her effort. If you have not been born-again, know that you cannot neuter sinful or bad habits by your own effort no matter how hard you may try. Godly habits have to be birthed in you by the Spirit of God before you can begin to nurture them. Surrender your life to Christ today in genuine repentance. He will give you godly habits to nurture. As a believer, continue to serve God faithfully, He will make you to shine like gold.
- Why should a Christian go to greater heights in his or her relationship?
- What does God want from you as a Christian?
- Explain how you can start and maintain good habits.
- Mention some of those habits that must be neutered.
- How can you continue with the Lord to nurture good habits?