I recently had a birthday and now proudly boast that I have made it to 45 years old in relatively good health and quality of life. Even though I've overcome a lot through the years, I admit that I still find myself holding on to bad habits at times. One of those habits is the habit of negative thinking.
When this happens, I am reminded that I've perhaps let go of some of the foundations that helped build my Christian faith so many years ago.
Rick Warren, well-known author, founder and senior pastor of the Saddleback Church, writes in his daily devotion how to continue to grow in the Lord:
Growth Requires a Teachable Attitude
While you were given a brand new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits, patterns, and practices that need to be removed and replaced.
We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves.
We often build our identities around our defects. We say, "It's just like me to be " and "It's just the way I am." The unconscious worry is that if I let go of my habit, my hurt, or my hang-up, who will I be? This fear can definitely slow down your growth.
Only as God is allowed to shine the light of his truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to work on them. This is why you cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude.
Godly habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can't claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest.
Your habits define your character. There is only one way to develop the habits of Christ-like character: You must practice them - and that takes time!
These character-building habits are often called "spiritual disciplines," and they include such things as meditation, prayer, fasting, Bible study, simplicity, stewardship, solitude, submission, service and evangelism.
I am so grateful for these simple reminders from Christian leaders. The push to keep getting better, growing, and being humble helps me to take stock as I approach another 45 years of life.
"Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." ~ 1 Timothy 4:15-16