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Personal Habits Inventory

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Let me answer some objections you might have right now.

“Trevor, I’ve tried this…and it doesn’t work.

I’ve tried to read my Bible. I’ve tried to pray. It's just not
happening.”

First, one of the reasons we fail at establishing disciplines…is
because we don’t do the first part of 21. We don’t put away stuff
before we put on new stuff.

We just add to our lives. Instead of replacing watching
television…we try to do it all. But the word DECIDE…to make a
choice….means to CUT OFF. It means you STOP doing something
and start doing something NEW. David Foster Wallace called it
active CHOOSING.

Second, a reason we often fail in disciplines is that we try to do them alone. We say, “I’m gonna start working out,” but we don’t work out WITH anyone…so we fail, because as John Ortberg says, “Habits eat willpower for breakfast.”


In other words, when you first start a habit, you are doing it out of
willpower. But your old habits don’t need willpower. They are just
running automatically in the background. And Habits almost always win over willpower. Especially, to start a habit, we need to do them together. We need others to help us.

Third, some of you keep trying to change the world when all you
really need to do is take a small step of faith. If you aren’t praying
or reading Scripture...don’t start by promising yourself that you’ll
read 30 minutes 7 days a week.

Old Habits will eat that for breakfast.

It’s better to succeed at reading one verse for 45 seconds 5 days a week…or listening to an audio version of the Bible on you’re way to work. You aren’t doing something less. You are developing a habit of IMPLANTING THE WORD.

Let's start with an honest look in the mirror.

This week on our website and in all our community groups, we’re
going to give you a “Personal Habits Inventory.”

The purpose is that you take an honest look at the water you’re
swimming in. What is forming the way you think and act.

And listen, the point is not so that you feel terrible about your
choices. That won’t get you anywhere.

This is sort of the “before” picture you take right before you start
working out. So you can see what you need to work on…and what
Superfluity of Naughtiness you need to put away.

And, honestly, so in a year or so, you can see what progress you may have made.

Download the PDF here.

Posted by Trevor Atwood with

Turning Up Grace And Obedience

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By: Megan Evans

I’ve often struggled with reconciling the relationship of grace and obedience.

I look at a particular sin in my life and flippantly think, “Oh, God’s grace covers that!” Or I look at what I have been sacrificing and think, “I bet God is proud of this!”

Within minutes of those exact thoughts, though, I look at that specific sin and think, “There is not enough grace in the world to cover this.” I look at what I have been sacrificing and think, “This can never be enough.”

When does this dissonance end? The better question to ask is, “In whom does this dissonance end?” Jesus Christ.

In Union with Christ, Wilbourne explains that we need to hear both grace and demand at full volume.

We need to hear Ephesians 2:8-9, that we have been saved by grace and not works. We need to remind ourselves of this daily. Hourly.

No sin can take us too far gone for God to love us. And there is nothing on earth we can do that could ever take away our need for dependence on him. Wilbourne says,

“Therefore, the remedy to our deepest wound and the antidote to Satan’s most venomous lie is a sure and certain confidence in the goodness of God toward us. Only those who believe in his grace will have the power to obey him.”

Where does this obedience part fit? “Only those who believe in his grace will have the power to obey him.” But I thought it was just grace alone that gave me faith? Hebrews 12:14 says, “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” Wilbourne contends,

“…because we are prone to excuse ourselves with the consolations of grace, and because we are awash in a sea of consumerism that leads us to define the gospel mainly in terms of the practical benefits it brings us, and because we can be given to sloth – we need to hear these voices that turn the call to follow Christ all the way up to full volume. Undiluted. The only way to know God is to follow him.”

Receiving grace and the benefits of sins washed clean requires faith. I have to believe that I am a sinner saved by grace. But because I believe in Christ, I believe that he is still making me new and that I still need him to turn from sin.

I can’t do this without obedience. I can’t worship a God because I am thankful for what he did for me in the past. No, I worship him by obeying because I am grateful for what he is continuing to do in my life.  

We can’t do both on our own, though. We can’t live up to the standards of obedience God calls us to. We can’t give ourselves enough grace to cover our sins.

The joining of 100% grace and 100% obedience is met in the person of Jesus Christ. And because of Christ living, dying, resurrecting for us, and sending his Spirit, we now are in union with him.

Union with Christ means “the work of Christ for us cannot be separated from the person of Christ in us (Wilbourne). He didn’t die an arbitrary death; he died so that he could be working in us with us.

Because of our union with Christ, obedience no longer feels like something we can’t reach. Grace no longer feels like something we can’t obtain. We can turn toward him, run to him, and be a part of what he has done and is doing.

Our sins are fully paid for by grace. We have all the power we need in Christ to continue to turn from sins toward Godliness: obedience. We have Christ dwelling in us.

“Our union with Christ is real but invisible. We must use “the eyes of [our] hearts” (Eph 1:18) to look not at what is seen, but what is unseen (2 Cor. 4:18). When temptation comes, you can say, “That’s not who I am anymore. I’m in Christ and Christ is in me. Christ, help me to be the person I am in you – by grace” (Wilbourne).

Posted by Megan Evans with

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