Part 1 – (Re)formation – Ordering Our Lives for Spiritual Growth
Many of us have habits that help us and assist us in our every day lives, but all of us are aware of the habits that we can’t seem to get rid of.
Although God has design our brains and created us in every aspect to image Him, the entrance of Sin into the world distorts our habits and turns them into selfish pursuits instead of God-honoring and neighbor-serving actions.
But in our daily, moment to moment lives we put forth grace-driven effort to retain and strengthen the image of God in us, because we aren’t yet perfected, but are being renewed into something not yet seen, something pure, holy, and blameless.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
(1 John 3:2-3 ESVS)
If anyone desires to change their habits they must change from the inner most places, and not just seek to change their actions. Jesus refers to it as being “Born Again”.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Apart from God regenerating our hearts, our desires to change will never last.
Paired with God’s work in us and through us, we are commanded in scripture to put forth effort. This effort is the spirit prompted, self propelled actions to put our minds and bodies where God is or has promised to be.
We often refer to these channels that our effort can be put as the “Spiritual Disciplines” and they include:
The Word of God
Silence and Solitude
But even as we seek to reform out habits according to God’s word, we cannot seek to simply stop what is sinful and start what is righteous.
The only way to begin to root out a sinful habit is to allow our affections and actions to be directed towards a greater love, a “true” story. In other words, in order to replace the love of sinful things in out hearts, there must be a greater love to replace it.
This is true because our hearts will form our habits according to our greatest love, and the Christian’s greatest love ought to be God himself. It’s God’s story of sending his son who died and rose again that outshines every rival story.
And through the spiritual habits of the Disciplines, we are reminded again and again of the Truth of God’s love for us through his Son for our Sins and Righteousness.