Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

The Habit of Increasing Your Faith

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Will Barnes

The Habit of Increasing Your Faith The Habit of Increasing Your Faith

Date 2011-05-29
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Document (PDF) BFF-20110529-TheHabitOfIncreasingYourFaith.pdf
Call to Worship

Message

My friends as the old saying goes, “We are creatures of habit”. The definition of habit from Marriam Webster is manner of conducting oneself: a way of acting fixed through repetition. Habits are something we all have. In a persons life we develop a lot of them. Some good, some not so good, and some bad. Habits are something we notice in other people. A person can have a habit that we admire or ones we don’t and some that actually irritate us. I think most people try to develop good ones A lot of times we get into habits because we have many things we have to get done and we don’t want to forget to do any of them. For instance I have a routine I usually follow in the morning. I get up around the same time each day during the week. I shave my face. I then eat breakfast, and so on. It’s the same for when I go to work. I arrive at about the same time every day and I have things I check on and do first thing. Like get that all important cup of coffee. I usually go through this routine on most days. I think it’s that way for a lot of people if not most. In the beginning of our lives we can, and should learn habits from our parents. Our Heavenly Father wants parents to teach their children good ones. In Proverbs 22:6 it states Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Children are always watching there parents and wanting to emulate them. Children are also watching adults that are close to them, like aunts, uncles, and friends of the family. They are little copy cats. They see you do something they want to do it. They hear you say something a lot of times there going to repeat it. And some times to your surprise and embarrassment. Many of us have experienced this and have found out how important it is to pay attention to what you say around them. Proverbs 20:11 says Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

When were out in public we take notice of people and there children. We especially notice children that are misbehaving. It’s hard not to. I was in a bank a couple of weeks ago, and there was a woman with her three year old son. He was not obeying what his mother was telling him to do. In my opinion his mother was not being firm enough with him, so she had a child who wasn’t doing what she asked, and I could not wait to leave the bank. Then later on in the week I was at a retail store where I got in line to check out and a lady with here five year old son where in front of me. I heard the mother say to the boy “Please stop what you are doing”. Then a second time, please stop what you are doing. Don’t touch that. I thought here we go again. But then to my pleasant surprise the mother maid sure her son was looking at her and said in a firm commanding voice, “I want you to stop what you are doing now please. And he did It was great. I wanted to hug her. So which one of the boys do you think has a better chance of growing up and doing what is asked of them with some courtesy, and maybe a little respect for the person asking them to do something. Or which one might grow up with a good habit of listening to authoritative figures? I know this isn’t always the case, but I firmly believe if a parent gets their child into the habit of knowing that Mom and Dad mean what they say at an early age. You’re going to have an easer time with them down the road. Not always the case but I believe the odds are much higher you will.

Habits can become something we don’t even realize we are doing. ( read line 7 of the definition): a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary <got up early from force of habit> c : addiction <a drug habit> Also someone who smokes Example 1: Some habits take a while to develop. Others we can start and we are able to stick with it. A habit can, and usually does start out as a decision we have made to accomplish something, or to change something about or selves. Usually for the better. For instance, some one might say,” I’m going to start a healthier life style”. I’m going to exercise, eat foods that are better for me. Or another person might decide to start practicing more on a skill that they want to develop. Such as a specific sport, or a musical instrument, or singing. We start out with good intentions, but for a number of reasons they may not last. Why is that? Well I think one thing that happens is we let things get in the way. We allow things to distract us. Maybe it turns out to be harder than we thought. So we get of track. We try to get back to what ever it was we were trying to accomplish but if we can’t ,or we are not seeing the results we were hoping for we can get discouraged. Or the day to day issues and problems of our lives and of this world distract us.

It’s the same way with our faith and our service to God. If you don’t exercise your faith, if you don’t choose to develop habits of discipline to strengthen it, it starts and it can slip away. It doesn’t mean you can’t get it back, but like the old saying goes. “Use it or loose itOr if you don’t loose it, it will grow weaker. An example of this is a man that I met years ago for the first time threw a mutual friend. I was told he is a Christian. And has been for a long time. It was also said that he has been going to the same church for many years. About two years ago this same gentleman and I became friends. He was going threw a tough time in his marriage. This ultimately ended in divorce. During these past two years I have watched him threw his actions move farther and farther from his faith in God. He stopped going to his regular church. I’ve invited him to ours many times. We had a long conversation one time were he was rationalizing certain sin. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then some months later in another conversation we were having the consequences of this sin he was rationalizing came up. I told him that he needed to turn back to God. That his thinking and his actions are far of from what God wants for you. He unfortunately glossed over what I just said to him. To put this way he has slowly turned from the light to the dark and as it says in Romans 8:5 those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires. My friend has allowed his habit of faith to deteriorate. He slowly stopped doing the things that help us to maintain and to stay strong, and to grow stronger in or faith to God. God created us and he knows what is best for us period. There is no if ands or buts.

In Job 2:10 it says Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? And in Proverbs 24:10 it says if you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength. God has given us this book (holding up the Bible) the Holy Bible and it contains every good habit that we will ever need, but you must get into the habit of daily reading it. As we have said in this church time and time again. It is the inerrant word of God. As some I’ve heard say. It is our instruction manual. Besides the importance of growing your faith in God and his son Jesus Christ our savior, it’s also what Joe spoke of last week and that has been spoken in this church on other a caissons, You need to be in the Word and learning the Word Of God so that no one can deceive you. Our salvation and our faith is the most precious thing we have. It is Gods gift to us threw his son Jesus.

In Philippians 2:12 Paul says continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. You notice he says continue that means we don’t stop. He didn’t say for a little while or until you become tired of doing it. He doesn’t say when you reach this certain level, or plat toe you can slacken up now your doing ok. You’re in good shape. We keep pressing forward and we do it with Joy in our heart, because we should get into the habit of reminding our selves what God the Father and God the son has done for us through the perfect and completed work of Jesus on the cross. Hallelujah! The next thing Paul says in this verse is “to work out your salvation. It’s not a passive thing. We have to get in the habit and stay in the habit of working itout. The work you put into your Faith is what you will get out of it. The more you trust in God and his son Jesus Christ the more your faith will grow. As we know in this church and as it has been said in this church, “The closer you move to God the closer he will move to you. You have to maintain the fire of desire for the Lord.

If you don’t get in the habit of doing the work of gathering the wood to keep the flame of passion burning for God it’s going to slowly die down. Then it’s going to sit there and smolder for awhile. Then it will grow cold. In 1st Timothy 6:12 Paul writes, “Fight the good fight of the faith. We must have a faith that endures especially with the way the world is changing today. It seems almost like someone has pressed down on the accelerator pedal. The world is changing quickly. From all the evidence that is out there it looks like our way of life could become more difficult and I mean not only the American way of life but also our Christian way of Life.

Another very crucial habit that every believer must cultivate and practice is earnest prayer. I heard on the radio one day that the Reverend Billy Graham was asked the question,” Looking back on your life is their anything you would change”? His answer was “Yes”. He said, “I would have prayed more. WOW I thought. That made me think if Billy Graham feels that way then I know I need to take a second look at my prayer life. I remember one day in church Mr. Gene said when he wakes up in the morning his feet don’t hit the floor until he has given God thanks for the new day and any thing else that is on his heart. We’ve also heard Barry and Kerry how they will wake up in the night, or in the morning and begin to pray. It’s something I have adopted in my life. I don’t get out of bed until I have given Him thanks and prayed for my children and myself and anything else on my heart. It get your mind focused on God from the very start of your day.

To me I feel in our prayer life we should be striving to make it something automatic. That it becomes second nature. To praise our God for what he has done for us and to give him all the glory. To thank him for everything that we are and everything we possess. It all comes from him. I think in this church we do strive for that and we continue to do so. As it says in Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Let us stay in the habit and maintain the habit of seeking him with all of our heart. AMEN