Tag Archives: christian behaviors

Integrated Into Christ

One of the things that I’ve taught for years is that habits, behaviors and attitude are all learned behaviors. You have the ability to change them with enough dedication and thought process changes. In the late 1980’s, Stephen Covey wrote a book called, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It sold so many copies in the first 11 years that it was named the most influential book of the 20th century. It taught people principles they could change personally to move from dependence to independence, and it also taught how to become a better team player as well. Many people attribute their success in business and in life to this self help book.

Unfortunately, many people approach the Bible as a self help book. They look at it as a book of do’s and don’t’s that will make you a better Christian in order to get into Heaven. We’ve been conditioned to think that if we will just act right, say the right things and spread love then we will be good Christians. The problem with that thinking is that it’s all behavior based Christianity. Romans 7 address that. If we try to live our Christian lives based on behaviors, then we’re going to be miserable. Jesus didn’t die to make you a better person. He died to give you new life. The changes in our life are a result of our love for Him, not our will power. The root of behavior based Christianity is that we are trying to integrate Christ into our lives instead of integrating our lives into Him.

In John 15:4, Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (NLT). Fruit isn’t produced on your own trying to be a good Christian. Fruit is produced through the new life Jesus gives us when we are fully grafted into Him. When we surrender our lives to Him, we are letting Him integrate us as branches into Himself as the Vine. Life changing power comes from that surrender and integration. It doesn’t come through will power. You are saved by grace, through faith, not by your good behavior or works (Ephesians 2:8). It’s not your habits that make you a Christian, it’s your heart. Man looks on the outward things, but God looks at your heart. Romans 8 addresses living surrendered to Christ in contrast to trying to do things on your own in Romans 7. We each need to make sure our lives are grafted into Christ where true life and fruitful living are.

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Imitators Of God

Recently I had to take my son with me on a sales call. He stood beside me as I asked the person questions and took notes on my iPad. When we got home, he brought me his iPad and wanted to show me something. He had written out some nonsensical measurements using words he heard me and the customer using. A few days later, I needed to run out to a job site and I asked if he wanted to go. He ran to the car and beat me to it. When we got there, he pulled out his iPad and said he was ready. I told him to leave it in the car, but he wanted to take it. We went back and forth until I realized he thought we were on a sales call and he wanted to take notes on it real time. He was wanting to do the things he saw me doing.

Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]” (AMP). You and I are to be no different than him in following the example Jesus set. In John 5:19, Jesus said that the works He did were only the works He saw the father doing. He was a well-beloved son imitating His father giving us an example of how to live our lives. The problem is that most of us are like Philip in John 14 asking Jesus to show us the Father. We use the excuse that we can’t see God, therefore we can’t imitate Him or do the things we see Him doing. However, we have seen His work and the effects of His work.

On one of the mission trips I took, at the end of each day, we would ask the question, “Where did you see Jesus today?” Each person had to share where they saw Him at work in the lives of others. That activity is something each of need to engage in daily. Where have you seen the Father at work lately? Train your eyes to look for God and you will see what He’s doing. Once you see that, begin to do it. The Bible helps us to understand the character of God. It also tells us the things Jesus did such as: having compassion on the lost and hurting, caring for their needs, teaching people to see God, going to where the people were and so much more. If you’re having trouble seeing God at work, read the Gospels and then look around you. Who needs compassion? Who needs encouragement? Who needs godly wisdom? Look for them and get busy being about the Father’s business.

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Changing Our Behaviors

Have you ever noticed when you’re watching TV with your child, if they say a bad word, your child repeats it? They don’t repeat anything else except the one thing you don’t want them to. The other thing I’ve noticed that happens is they go to school and come home with some bad habits. You did everything you could to raise them right, but they see one kid act a certain way and they imitate their bad behavior. Those moments can be frustrating for a parent because you spend so much time trying to educate your child and train your child to be good, but they see one bad behavior and it’s all out the window.

I wonder if God feels the same way at times with us as His children. One of the main messages throughout the Bible is that His people are to be set apart and live differently. It’s full of verses on what Living His way means, but for some reason, we end up imitating things we see in the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,” but we find ourselves, along with many other Christians doing just that (NLT). I wonder if God is constantly asking us, “Where did you learn that?”

When we accept Jesus to be Lord of our life, we are saying we will no longer live like we did before. We are agreeing to allow Him to show us how to live, then submitting to His authority in our life. His love should change us from the inside out, and because of His holiness in us, we should live differently than the world. 3 John 1:11 says, “My dear friend, do not imitate what is bad, but imitate what is good. Whoever does good belongs to God; whoever does what is bad has not seen God” (GNT). Start today by asking God what behaviors He wants you to change in your life. You’ll find that just like every other Christian, there are more things we can do to be more like Him and less like this world.

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Good Habits

Habits are behaviors in our lives that have developed over time. We get them from repeating a behavior, and many times we we do them effortlessly. Habits can be good or bad, and we all have them. We usually know what habits we have, but some of them are in our blind spot and are very obvious to others. The great news for you and I is that if it can be learned, it can be unlearned. We don’t have to keep the habits we have, and we can create new habits in our lives over time.

As Christians, there are certain habits that we should avoid, and there are others that we need to adopt. It’s never easy to create or break ourselves of a habit. I believe that when we invite Jesus to be Lord of our life, He helps us to make those changes in our lives. Even though He lives in us, our flesh is still alive and wants us to do things its way instead. It’s a constant struggle for us to break old habits and to develop new godly ones, but it’s something each of us must work on and do.

Here are some Bible verses regarding habits.

1. For God sees everything you do and his eyes are wide open as he observes every single habit you have.

Proverbs 5:21 TPT

2. So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.

James 1:21 GNT

3. Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

I Corinthians 15:33 NKJV

4. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

Hebrews 10:25 GNT

5. Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to GOD! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.

Psalm 64:9-10 MSG

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Proper Behavior

One of the crazy things about having children is not just how much they look like you, but act like you too. I’m convinced that DNA does more than give them the physical traits you have. Often my son will do something and my wife and I will laugh and say, “That’s your child. You do that too!” He often demonstrates mannerisms that he hasn’t seen us do and it’s obvious those have been passed down. There are other times though when he sees how we behave end he mimics it. It’s not always the good behaviors either.

Most children will learn their behavior by watching their parents. If you raise your voice when you’re frustrated, they will too. If you laugh boisterously, they will laugh that way too. They are watching you to see how they should act and react. They even use the same expressions. It’s been said that what parents do in moderation, the children will do in excess. In Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul took this same concept of children copying their parents behavior and told us to mimic what God does since we are His children. 

He wrote, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (MSG)” Our first step is to watch what our Father God has done and is doing. We learn more about His behavior the more we read the Bible.

I love that Paul wrote, “Mostly what God does is love you.” John wrote that God is love. As believers, we have been called to a life of love. Love for other believers, but also love for the lost. Just like a parent, we don’t always know how to express that love. Sometimes it comes out in doing good deeds for them and in providing for the needs of someone in a desperate situation. Other times it comes out very restrictive. In trying to protect their spiritual security, we do things that they don’t understand. It appears to suffocate them and push them away. We have to be careful in how we love others.

Paul throws in that God didn’t love to get something back. He gave because He loved. That’s huge for each one of us. We need to learn to love others by giving ourselves to them. God held nothing back when He demonstrated His love for us. He didn’t send His highest ranking angel to die on the cross. No, He sent His only son. He didn’t say, “Ok, I gave you my son, now you need to give me more sacrifices and more offerings.” In fact, he required less from us than before. We no longer had to sacrifice our best. We just had to simply accept His gift of love. In return, our love for Him is displayed in giving Him our lives.

Our lives lived for Him should reflect and mimic the love He gave. Spiritual beings should look at the way we behave, look at God and say, “That’s your child. They act just like you!” I’ll go a step further. It shouldn’t just be spiritual beings, but human beings should be able to look at you and recognize you belong to God through your actions. Jesus put it this way, “They’ll know you’re mine by your love.” Go out today and love extravagantly the way God does. Be recognizable to others as His kid because of your actions not just your words.

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