Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV)
A Christian is a godly person who has chosen to abstain from sinful lifestyle and live a life- separated and consecrated unto the Lord. The 12 habits discussed here refer to the basic disciplines that strengthen a believer’s intimate relationship with the Lord.
A habit is a recurring daily practice that transforms your life and predictably leads you to a sure destination. The twelve basic habits will be discussed under three major categories that “connects to God” and lead believers to “walk with God” and “work for God.” .
A) HABITS THAT "CONNECT TO GOD"
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.1 John 3:14
The test of your connection to God (the Head of the Church) is your relationship with His body (the Church.) You cannot claim to love the head and hate his body. The proof of your dedication to God is to be dead to your selfish interest and be alive to the things and the people of God. It is not enough to be born again. We need to be planted and committed to the body of Christ at the expense of personal comfort (Amos.6:1.)
1. Lifestyle of love for God (Matt 22:37-40)
A new life in Christ calls you to a lifestyle of love for God and your neighbours.
You will not only love God with all your heart and soul and might but will also love your neighbour same way you love yourself. That means, if you genuinely love God, you will also:
· Love the Word of God. (Psalm 119:97-100)
· Love the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)
· Love the House of the Lord. (Psalm 84:1-2,10; Psalm 122:1,9)
· Love the People of the Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)
· Love the Things of God, sharing specially the passion of Christ for lost souls. (John 21:17)
You will love to stay connected to God as you walk with Him and do His work.
People will see love radiating in every aspect of your life.
Can people see the level of love operating in your life and conclude that you are a child of God?
2. Lifestyle of depending on the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.8)
You cannot do well what God calls you to do until you are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit is there to enable, strengthen and empower you (Zech. 4:6).
Can people see the supernatural power operating in you and know that the Greater One truly operate from within you (1 John 4:4)? Considering your relationship with the Power Source, the Holy Spirit, are you sufficiently empowered to carry out your Christian duties and personal purpose in life?
3. Fellowship with other believers (Heb. 10:25)
You cannot claim to belong to Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, if you do not regularly fellowship with His body (the Church.) Are you a genuine member of a Church, taking part in her spiritual, financial and social well-being or you are just a charlatan and a parasite going there to fleece her? Connecting with the people around us is a way of communicating our belonging to Christ and His body- his family. Christ-like disciples realise that we are not called to be lone rangers, but rather to be rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:14-20). Thus, it is both a responsibility and blessing to share all things in common with God’s people as we grow mature into the full image of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:11-16). A genuine Christian seeks to fellowship with other Christians on a regular basis (Rom 15:14).
If you attend your work organisation or social relationship the way you attend Church, will you be considered serious? Can people be convinced of your Christianity through the love you share with other members of your Church fellowship (John 13:35)?
4. Lifestyle of forgiveness (Mark 11:26)
Nothing tests our bond with God like our willingness to forgive other people. If you fail to forgive others, you will also be unable to obtain forgiveness from God (Matt.6:14-15.)
In fact, one of the advantages of Church fellowship is the ability to grow mature in the fruits of the Spirit like love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.5:22-23.) How can you claim to be long-suffering if no person is testing your nerves in your relationship? Forgive others that you may continue to enjoy forgiveness of God. Nothing disconnects a man from God and earns God’s wrath like the inability to forgive others.
B. HABITS THAT HELP “WALK WITH GOD”
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, [a]sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21 NKJV)
5. Lifestyle of faith (spiritual consecration) - Hab. 2:4
The just shall live by his faith (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)
Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord (Heb.11:6)! Believers are expected to live in faith not by sight for it takes lifestyle of faith to connect to the Lord and the spiritual realm. Many things we face in our spiritual walk cannot be explained by sheer logic. Only a lifestyle of faith enables you to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Prov.3:5-6.) Lifestyle of faith, among many other christian disciplines, entails a consecrated life of fasting, praying, giving and praise.
a) Lifestyle of fasting (Isaiah 58: 8-12; Matt.6:16.) The Bible talks about, “when ye fast” not “if you fast” since fasting is a required Christian discipline. Every great man of God in the Bible or in the present day is devoted to fasting.
Fasting helps to destroy yokes and causes your light to breakthrough (Isaiah 58:8.) Faith will not deliver beyond its level of empowerment. All Giants of faith were given to fasting and prayer.
The primary role and purpose of fasting is spiritual empowerment. Some types of ailment and challenges in life will also not leave except by prayer and fasting.
There is no substitute to fasting for every Christian that wants to flourish and live in victory.
Fasting is an art of starving the body in order to grow spiritual strength.
b) Lifestyle of praying (Matt. 6:6)
The Bible talks about when ye pray not if you pray since prayer is a required Christian discipline!
Apostle Paul reminds us not to worry about anything, but instead with prayer and supplication to make our requests known to God (Philippians 4:6-7.) Prayer is a major cornerstone of the Christian faith and it is from this discipline that the rest of our life flows.
Bible teaches that a believer prays without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17.) Just like any relationship, communication is essential. Prayer connects man in a relationship with a personal God. No wonder prayer was an important part of every great person in the Bible (Daniel 6:10; Mark 1:35-37; Luke 4:42-43.)
Prayer is also meant to transform our lives and align our will and purpose to that of God so we can serve as His ambassadors on earth (1 John 5:14-15.)
c) Lifestyle of giving (Matt 6:1.4).
Not only does the Bible insist we indulge in the discipline of giving to God and others (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 8:7), it also guides us on the protocols of giving secretly and cheerfully as a way of life. God loves cheerful givers not showy or stingy ones. We are called to give our time, our talent, and our treasure. A genuine Christian, in financial stewardship, gives regularly tithes and offering (Matt. 23:23; Malachi 3:8-11) and involve regularly in other kingdom projects. Giving to the Church is not just a way of showing appreciation to God but is also a means of funding the Church, and the ministers / staff of the Church. It is also a way of providing for the needs of the poor, and for the programs and the maintenance of the church. No wonder it is a conduct God attached a big blessing to, saying, “ Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it Malachi 3:10.)”
If you love God, you will surely be a giver. Giving is normal where there is love (John 3:16).
Giving is simply a delightful lifestyle of a genuine Christian (1 John 3:17; James 2:15-17.)
d) Lifestyle of praise (Psalm 150:6)
The Bible encourages every Christian in 1 Thess. 5: 16-18, to “rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We are to praise without ceasing (Psalm 34:1; Psalm 100:4).
It is a discipline required for a triumphant lifestyle. You need to flow with God and His nature.
In His presence is fullness of joy. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)!
Your kind of faith determines your kind of result. Small faith yields small result. Big faith yields big result and great faith will yield great result. It is to you according to your faith (Matt.9:29.)
6. Living in the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)
Living in faith requires intimate knowledge of the Bible. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! To personally understand Bible requires the daily habit of Bible study. It is required for every Christian to be a student of the Word of God if such will live a life approved of God (2 Tim.2.15.)
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17.) Every commandment of Bible is for your own profiting.
7. Life of meditation (Psalm 63:6-8)
We are not only to read and study the Word of God but are instructed to daily mediate and do it.
Joshua 1:8 teaches that you should, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Meditation requires staying alone with God in order to focus on His words (Psalm 63:6, 97, 101, 102, and 148.) Jesus Christ, Himself, spent lots of time in meditation (Mark 1:35, 45, Luke 5:16). He taught his disciples to do the same (Acts 10:10; 11:15; 2 Cor. 12:1-4).
God’s Word is His wisdom so soaking God’s Word is soaking God’s wisdom.
The focus of Christian meditation is an encounter with God, through listening to God’s word, reflecting on God’s works, studying God’s law, rehearsing God’s deeds, pondering God’s acts etc. The end product of all these steps is personal transformation as a result of our encounter with the living God. Meditating the Word of God conditions your spirit for excellence and adjusts your mentality for prosperity. In Psalm 1:1-3, the Bible says that meditation is a discipline that ensures prosperity. Whatever a man that meditates the Word of God shall do shall prosper!
8. Life of obedience (Isaiah 1:19)
Obedience unlocks the riches of the Lord upon the doer.
Obedience is the test of trust and intimate relationship with God.
Nothing disconnects a man from God’s purpose like disobedience (right from when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden until now.) Obedience, in the other hand connects us to the flow of abundance ever available in the Lord (Deut. 28:1-3.) Jesus demonstrated great obedience in fulfilling His life purpose even unto the point of death and God for that reason has exalted Him and given Him a name above every other name in heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:5-10.) How do people see you when it comes to rendering your service in the house of the Lord? Are you stubborn and rebellious or are you obedient and committed to God and the affairs of His kingdom? Obedience is displaying deadly dedication to the instruction of God.
C. HABITS THAT HELP “WORK FOR GOD”
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NKJV.)
Life is about stewardship. The end of being connected to God and walking with Him is to work for Him - according to His will and Purpose. Fruitful works flow from intimate connection to God.
9. Lifestyle of stewardship (Matthew 25:15)
A life given back to God as an offering is what stewardship is all about.
Stewardship is more than just giving. It is about offering your life itself, in the service of others.
Stewardship is more than serving financial blessings supplied by God but also involve serving the spiritual gifts we are endowed with. Christian stewardship is more than financial stewardship, since time and life are far greater treasures than money and possessions. A godly steward knows that God owns him and everything he has. Such a person therefore commits everything God has given him into the service of the Lord – either it is spiritual gifts, financial resources or social skills. He commits all that he is given – be it time, talents or possessions into the service of the Lord. Such knows that God own all resources and that we are only caretakers, who will give account of our stewardship to Him at the end of our journey of life. Considering the way you serve, are you sure to hear well-done my good steward (Matt.25:21)?
10. Lifestyle of discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2)
Living a life of mission and discipleship are practical demonstration of christian maturity.
A mature believer has the mission to bear fruits (according to his own type.)
No Christian is expected to live a barren faith life. Same way you are mentored, you are expected to mentor others in a small group or big department or ministry of your church. As a parent, you are also required to teach your children diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). In his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ called every disciple he trained to make disciples of others.
Apostle Paul also gave a discipling instruction to Timothy, his men-tee, saying, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim.2:2.) A responsible Christian has at least one accountability partner that can correct and direct him or her in the personal walk of faith.
Mentoring (disciple-making) as a Christian is as easy as helping someone discover the truth of God’s Word and inviting them to live it out in their everyday lives. A good question of maturity is, “are you being discipled and do you have someone you are mentoring?”
11. Lifestyle of evangelism (Acts 1:8)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea... and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8 NKJV). The consistent discipline of sharing the gospel is a critical foundation in the Christian life. A virtuous Christian makes it a habit to be sharing the gospel with various people, doing it with graciousness and love and in a variety of ways suitable to the circumstances. Jesus Christ’s last commission to His disciples was to, “go to the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature. … 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:15-19.9)” Thus a mature disciple of Christ has grown in the Scripture enough to give simple answers to questions raised in evangelistic discussions. Such is ready to win a soul at all cost for the Lord. The Bible says that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.” Are you a wise believer? That depends on if you have been transformed into a life bearing tree! 12. Living on purpose (intentional living)
A born again believer does not live his life by accident but rather live on purpose.
Life becomes intentional as you daily pursue your predestined purpose.
a) A Christian, foremost lives for the Kingdom of God, no more for the pleasures of the world. A true Christian seeks first after the Kingdom of God and His right standing (Matt.6:33). He makes the most important thing the most important thing knowing every other thing would be added to his life by God- the source of all resources on earth who has the power to supply all that a man needs (Ephesians 3.20.)
b) A Christian secondarily finds out his unique purpose for being alive so that he can fulfil it. Every person is sent to earth as a solution provider and your value becomes enhanced if you devote your potential to solving the problem you are uniquely endowed to solve. We are all uniquely, purposefully and wonderfully created (Jeremiah 29:11; Ps. 139:14.)
Living on purpose helps you to discover, develop and deploy your potential with the sole aim of accomplishing your purpose. May you fulfil your purpose and enjoy the fulfilment that comes from it in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Be planted in your Church!
Blessed is the man. Who walks not in the counsel of the [a]ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he [b]meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree. Planted by the [c]rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV)
Your church has a great role to play in accompanying you to fulfil your life purpose.
Once you find a house of God where you are welcomed and granted a place to serve, settle down and be rooted. Give yourself to the body as unto the Lord. Be loyal, committed and dedicated. Until a seed falls down and dies, it abides alone. It is not enough to be born again. You need to be planted in a God- believing Church and grow up there faithfully. Your dedication and commitment may be tested but if you stand all the seasons with the devotion of a rooted tree, you will soon arrive at your season of fruitfulness. Remember that a fruitful tree is a rooted tree. Fruitfulness demands faithfulness! A faithful person will naturally bear fruits. Whatever he or she touches shall prosper!