There’s a lot of popular talk about building habits and daily routines, and I’m really good with all of that, but you as a believer are already reborn in Christ, and need not worry about doing anything that isn’t compatible with who you are as one righteous, empowered, secure, and significant in your identity in Jesus. What I mean is as humanistic culture focuses more and more on “personal improvement,” you get to rest knowing God has made you perfectly compatible with His life which Christ lives through you by grace. You are not needing to be the cause of “more,” which is rarely better, or even “better” when you lack nothing for Life and godliness in Christ by grace (1 Peter 1:3). But you can build new habits and routines that help you enjoy all you have in Christ more each day!
Having a routine or building new habits is great, so long as we realize who we are in Christ as lacking nothing by grace (see Colossians 2:9-10). That may seem counterintuitive for some. So, here’s my 3 suggestions for “daily habits” and new routines for us as believers in Christ from a grace perspective:
- Since what is true of Christ by merit is true of you and him by grace, think about what is true of him. Paul wrote to the Philippines to focus on those things that are good and noble and praiseworthy and excellent, and all of those things are certainly true of Christ. Is Jesus loving? Is Jesus sacrificial and generous? Was he available in every circumstance? What are the things that were true of him character logically that are now part of the garments of grace that we get to put on every single day, which perfectly fit you in Jesus? Make a list!
- Take a couple of those things that are true of you in Christ, and decide what it would look like for you given your history and personality, to not live that way? These would be flash patterns that are no longer true of who you are, but might be habituated and how you respond to others, what you worry about, or how you try to get your own needs met from your self or others or circumstances. What would it look like if you were to not be as Christ is in the world? Everyone wants to be kind and thinks of themselves as kind, until someone cuts them off in traffic or misunderstands them on social media! Once we know how our history and personality can often cause us to respond according to the flesh, often to other peoples flesh, were unlikely for even those things that are true of us in Christ to be our daily experience.
- Finally, what would it look like to respond with what is true of you and your identity in Christ in those areas that you sometimes respond according to the flesh? I am not asking you to overcome those flesh patterns, nor do I expect them to go away in this temporal life. Instead, I’m suggesting for you to believe that that flesh pattern is no longer compatible with who you are. You get to choose, what Paul calls “putting on the garments“ that are compatible with who you are in Jesus (see Colossians 3:12-14). You don’t cause the garments to fit, nor do you make the garments for yourself, but you do choose to wear them. Grace makes them available and makes you perfectly fitted in them, but faith wears them on purpose.
Over time, as the process of agreeing with God about what isn’t true of us, and agreeing with Him about what is true of us, as applied in our daily circumstances becomes the new normal in our experience. We don’t have to create a list every day from now on, but we are not habituated to living from the truth in every way. Just as a child must learn how to walk, one of the most natural things for a person to do, so you get to learn to walk according to the truth of who you are in Christ. For the child it means choosing not to crawl, and for you it means choosing not to walk according to the flesh. Instead the child chooses to stand up and try to walk as they have seen the parent walk. Likewise, you get to choose to walk according to what you see is true of your Father in heaven and His begotten Son, Jesus Christ, believing it is also true of you today. God is not working on everything in your experience and habits at once. He is showing you thoughts and feelings and behaviors that really don’t work for you because they aren’t of Him. Even better, He’s inviting you to a Life with Him that He has already provided in Christ within you! Our work is relational, not transactional – to trust Him as He lives through us, not trying to live in such a way to cause His favor and power already ours as His kids.
So, take a little time to talk to Abba God about those things – whether habits or routines regarding food or fitness, relationships or hobbies, work or worship or any other thing. And as He shows you the truth of who you are and how He wants to be your Source in all these areas and more, trust Him, walk with Him, and grow in grace with Him like a child learning to walk holding the hands of Dad.
My friend, how Jesus loves is how you love. How Jesus forgives is how you forgive. How Jesus gives is how you give. You see, He still loves and forgives and empowers and blesses – and He does it all through you and I as we learn to be available to Him. You don’t need to start a habit of giving, you need to believe that you are a natural giver empowered and equipped by grace in Jesus Christ. You don’t need to create a habit of being kind to other people, you need to realize that is who you are in Christ and begin looking and noticing those opportunities as he gives them to you and shows them to you. The routine is to deliberately start thinking on those things that are true. The habit is to to be available to Him for what is already true. This is maturing in the reality of who you are by grace in our Lord. You in Him, Him in you, and you living like Him in this world. Because, saint, that is exactly who you are.
Question: “How is this different than the worldly paradigm of self improvement, and what is one thing God may be showing you He wants you to grow in with Him in the days ahead?”
Share your thoughts in the comments and questions in the comments below!
Awakening souls to the spiritual reality of our Life in Christ!