We are discussing habits that help us in holiness. How do I measure my holiness? Well, I need to ask if I am saturating myself in the Word of God, the primary tool of God the Holy Spirit to make me more like Jesus.
I also need to ask, what is my commitment to prayer? Do I only pray for my own needs — or am I laboring in prayer for others?
Am I thankful for the Lord, for His people, for my present circumstances in which I am to serve Him? Scripture says we are to be thankful IN everything not FOR everything (I Thes. 5:18). We read, “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV). We are not to call evil good and when evil things come into our lives, we are not to give thanks for them, but to ask the Lord’s help as we respond IN that situation.
I enjoy spending time alone with . . . myself. Spending time alone with the Lord takes intentionality — and I need to work at that.
Witnessing and developing true friendships are two other habits which I need to focus on daily.
A seventh habit I’m working on is being quick to forgive. This is one of the toughest of the bunch! I’ve been helped here by John Bevere’s book The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense. Bevere writes: “Many are unable to function properly in their calling because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their full potential. Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt them.”
Forgiveness is a huge topic, but the Word of God is clear that we must forgive others. We read in Matthew 6 the following: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Yes, I can continue to harbor a grudge, take offense, refuse to forgive someone else. But that is contrary to God’s Word and His will. Forgiveness does not necessarily equal reconciliation. And it certainly doesn’t mean we are to put ourselves in the same situation where we can be hurt again. But in my heart I have to forgive them!
The story is told about Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. One day Clara was reminded of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Clara’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
Whom do you need to forgive? (to be continued)