Great Christians Series – Hebrews 5:11-14
Intro: Habits are a part of our life, good and bad, many of them we don’t even realize we have. Some of you might remember your parents telling you; don’t forget to brush your teeth, make sure you wash your hands before you sit down at the dinner table. Make your bed. It is your turn to do the dishes. Do your homework. Take out the trash. Tie your shoes. Make sure you buckle up. As we get older we know each day we need to shower and shave…
We accomplish a lot without thinking about our actions because, over time, we’ve developed habits. Great Christians learn to live the Christian life in one fluid motion rather than an awkward series of movements because they’ve learned how to develop great habits. Ben Franklin once said: “Our good habits minus our bad habits equals our contribution to society.” Habits are the thread that ties together the behaviors of great Christians in the Bible and church history.
A habit is a behavior that is done so often it becomes automatic without thinking. We need to grasp the fact that the sum of our good and bad habits will dictate who we will become. “Have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1Timothy 4:7 (NASB)
The word discipline can also be translated “practice” or “exercise.” Great Christians practice godliness, they acquire great habits.
Text: Hebrews 5:11-14 (NKJV)
“Of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Each of us has routines we’re generally unaware of. Some of us eat a snack before bedtime, watch certain TV program each week, wake up to a certain preparation each morning, take vitamins, and so on…Our habits can be our best friends and worst enemies.
It is important to have habits that cultivate Grace: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Titus 2:11-12 (NKJV)
God’s grace gives us both the desire and the ability to be righteous and follow Him. Godliness only comes through grace, but it takes great effort to apply grace fully to our lives. To live Godly we must cultivate Godly habits. I have shared in the last couple of months 9 characteristics of Great Christians. We have learned great Christians pray great prayers, think great thoughts, read great books, pursue great people and dream great dreams, take great risk, make great sacrifices and enjoy great moments, empower great people; and the last thing that must be applied is Great habits. Without great habits all of these other 9 characteristics will not work. There are six habits I want to briefly present to you. It is paramount that you cultivate them into your lifestyle.
1. Put God first: This is the principle of priority.
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
Develop the habit of giving God the first portion and the best part of your day. Great Christians give their first and best time to meet with God before anything else. Some habits require drastic measures, but if you’re serious about putting God first, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes.
2. Take out the trash: This is the principle of transformation.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
There is a negative command in that verse that literally says to stop being conformed, or molded, to this world. Quit allowing the world system - its ideas, images, and values – to shape who you are. Get the trash out of your life. That’s followed by a positive command to allow God’s Word to renew and transform you - to cause a metamorphosis, the same word used for the transfiguration of Jesus. When you take out the trash our lifestyle begins to demonstrate God’s will, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Spiritually, a lot of Christians have filled their minds with so much garbage from the junkyard of this world that it doesn’t seem like garbage anymore. “That’s bad habits!” We’re unconsciously being conformed to this world, not transformed to the image of Christ.
What trash do you have in your life right now? If Jesus were inside your mind today and you asked Him what He thought about its contents, which areas would He find most uncomfortable? He wouldn’t condemn you for it; He still loves you just the same. But would He feel at home there? The point of Romans 12:1-2 is not to condemn but to bless you with the experience of God’s perfect will by the renewing of your mind. Which areas of your life need to have some trash taken out?
3. Do your own dishes: This is the principle of responsibility.
This principle takes the blame off of other people and forces us to be accountable for our own messes. Too many people make excuses for the way they are or for what they’ve done: “It’s my parents fault.” “The system let me down.” “My boss is unreasonable.” The government isn’t fair… People who have a performance-based relationship with God don’t understand or accept the fullness of His grace, and they develop a habit of making excuses and blaming people or circumstances for everything that goes wrong, even when they’ve contributed to the problem themselves. When we do that, we don’t change. It is our spiritual responsibility before God to clean up our own dishes: "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Luke 16:10 (NASB)
Until we learn to own up to our obligations, we won’t be faithful in the larger issues of the kingdom of God. You take responsibility for your life, your actions, your choices, and your messes; but then you go beyond that and help others with theirs. Many marital problems are solved by this principle. So are many relational conflicts we have with other people. Pick up after yourself!
4. Write it down: This is the principle of clarity.
“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out.” Proverbs 20:5 (NASB)
We all have plans, dreams, and purpose embedded deep within our hearts. For many, those plans stay beneath the surface for a lifetime, but an understanding person “draws them out.” I must admit I struggle with this habit. A couple of months ago here at Ocean View on Sunday nights our small group meetings used Chip Ingram’s material: “Good to Great in God’s eye’s.” and one of the things he stressed throughout the whole series was; write it down, put your dates on the calendar, journal your life. Write things that are going on in your life on a 3X5 card, write down memory verses. Prioritize, organize, write it down.
5. Do it now: This is the principle of inertia.
A lot of things never get done because we never get started doing them, that’s the principle of inertia. The lazy person leaves plenty of evidence that nothing has been done, this is inactivity. Not that I want to admit this but; a little procrastination can do a lot of damage, and I have been known to be a procrastinator once in a while. Most of us live a life full of good intentions and broken promises. Learn to attack life. Whatever it is, DO IT NOW! Include enjoying great moments into your plan of attack; “do it now” applies even to rest and recreation, not just your to-do list. But quit postponing difficult tasks. Have that unpleasant conversation now. Whatever you dread most, get it over with early in the day. For some all of life feels discouraging and depressing with too many responsibilities hanging over your head. And when we’re depressed, all many of us want to do is watch TV and eat, not exactly problem-solving activities. That approach actually creates habits of facing difficulties in passive, negligent ways. Attack life by doing today’s work today, and you’ll feel a lot better about tomorrow.
6. Turn it off: This is the principle of restoration.
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11 (NASB)
Did you notice the irony? We have to “be diligent” to “enter that rest.” Why? Because rest doesn’t come easily for us. For those who already have a “do it now” mentality, the biblical practice of keeping the Sabbath offers a much-needed balance. Yes, we’re to do our work proactively and not procrastinate. But we still need to turn off the cell phone and the computer and take a break. We have to be diligent to cut off the conditions that keep us from resting.
Enjoy His creation with the people you love. Spend some extra time with Him. You don’t have to be legalistic about it; if an emergency comes up, deal with it. But make up for it later. Honor the day of rest God gives you. Take 24 hours every seven days and simply stop! BE RESTORED, RENEWED, and REFRESHED. How? Whatever “it” is, turn it off.
Conclusion: Don’t forget, habits take time to develop. I have a quick question; the Bible says we should live Godly in this present age, are you? Great Christians have great habits and live Godly lives. Make a habit of having great habits that is what Great Christians do. Do you want to be a great Christian? Make some Great Habits.
In : Sermon
Tags: "great christians series" "book of hebrews"
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