Here's a trick question. How do we change to become the people God wants us to be?
My suspicion: Most of us think that we need more knowledge. That's half right. We do need more knowledge. We need to learn more about who God is and what he has revealed about himself. We need to understand what he says about the world in which we live so that we can live wisely within it.
Knowledge is essential, but it isn't enough. I'm convinced that we aren't growing because we rely too much on knowledge. We think that another study or sermon will change us into the people God wants us to be.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a British preacher from the last century, said, “I spend half my time telling Christians to study doctrine and the other half telling them that doctrine is not enough.” We need knowledge, but we also need more.
We Need Practices (or Habits)
We don't just need beliefs. We need practices — or, as I prefer to call them, habits.
Throughout the centuries, Christians have recognized that certain practices help us grow to become more like Jesus. We believe in starting with three core practices:
- Reading and listening to Scripture — When we continually read or listen to the Bible, it begins to shape the way that we think. We don't just believe what it says, but it begins to rewire us.
- Prayer — Prayer is living out the reality of our dependance upon God for everything. When we realize that we need God's help every minute of the day, and that he is willing to help us, we will increasingly live our lives in constant conversation with God.
- Participation in the life of a church — It's not enough to attend church. God made us to grow in community. We grow best when we pursue God with others, not just occasionally but as a regular, intentional part of our lives. This includes participating in the worship services of a church, but it also means pursuing relationships in which we can share our lives with others.
These practices aren't complicated or hard to understand, but they do take intention. If you build them into your life and practice them regularly, you'll be positioning yourself to grow.
What's Your Next Step?
in How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to ALL of Your Life, we unpack how to build habits and how to build these three practices into your life.
We also cover these habits in G4L Coaching, which pairs practical, bite-size lessons and support from a coach to help you embed these habits into your life.
Ask yourself: How can you regularly practice these three habits for the rest of your life? Start small, but begin to think about how they could look in your life. Look at what's worked in your past, and try to figure out what will work for you. Don't aim for perfection, but aim for progress in all three habits.
We need practices, not just beliefs. Engaging in the three core habits will help all of us take the next step in becoming the people God wants us to be.