May 06, 2012

Habits for Holiness

Philippians 4:8-9

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
—Philippians 4:9


For many people, the word “discipline” has a negative connotation. We tend to associate the word “discipline” with the idea of punishment.

But discipline is not the same as punishment. To discipline someone is to train them to develop a pattern of behavior or shape their character. It often happens by developing habits so that doing a task becomes a regular part of our life, something we do almost without effort.

Many people today learn how to type at a computer keyboard. At first, the practice of making the smallest finger on your left hand move from the q to the z on a keyboard seems awkward and difficult. But the more you practice, the more natural it becomes. If you work at a computer keyboard often, you probably don’t even think about the movement of that finger anymore. The skill of typing has been produced in you through disciplined practice.

In our text for today, Paul instructs the Christians in Philippi to practice habits that will help them experience God’s peace. He asks them to learn to seek God through disciplines such as prayer, worship, and the study of all that is true and right. They are to develop habits that may initially seem awkward and difficult but will help train them so that they may develop the character that God intends for them.

Father in heaven, grant me the discipline to develop good habits for shaping my character. Make me more like Christ each day. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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