Integrity is Transparent

Integrity is Transparent

Proverbs 10:9 (NLT) People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.

I started blogging about my time with Jesus almost a decade ago. Every single day without fail in every possible situation you can imagine, I would lug my laptop along and make it the very first thing I did every single day. You might even say that I did it religiously. The Lord laid this task on my heart, but it took many years to understand the value and worth of such encounters. I guess sharing it with others became my accountability. Anyway, a few years back I realized it had become a duty rather than a desire. This weekend, my sister-in-law came to meet our new grandbaby. I didn’t hide away to write this weekend. Today sitting in the quiet of the morning, the Lord and I talking about the day, I started to think about how it has changed over the years.

Integrity is adherence to moral or ethical principles. It means soundness of character. It is honesty. Integrity also represents being whole, entire and undiminished. It is a sound, unimpaired, and perfect condition. Clearly I cannot walk in integrity without the grace of God slathered over my life. Yet, in our pursuit of God sometimes we lose passion and it becomes a procedure. Religion is set forth with doctrines filled with rules and regulations. Religion is ineffective without a relationship with Christ who completes us. Sometimes, we must evaluate our life for authenticity. The only way to fully receive all that Jesus provided on the Cross and represents in His Emergence from the grave is to understand that our integrity is found in Him. Our sense of rightness has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to change our life but rather to live in the fullness of His Grace that makes us righteous and in a right standing relationship with God the Father.

2 Samuel 22:26-29 (NLT) To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.

Reading in I Kings 19 today, Elijah was fleeing the threat of Jezebel. He is in the wilderness ready to die. Seems crazy since he just experienced great victory killing the prophets of Baal. How is this possible? Why would he run after such a miraculous experience? Elijah was human. He was a man. The confidence of his life was God but the man still lived inside of him. He prayed that night to die. Elijah lived a life of integrity. He didn’t come to the Lord boasting in pride of his accomplishments but dissolved before God in his weakness. When he woke up the next morning, an angel of the Lord provided a meal for him in the wilderness. The Lord desires communion with us. He wants to live with us in an abiding relationship. This comes at the price of self. Integrity found in Christ is not a change of habit or even strength of self. It is to abandon our heart and mind to the Lord. To live a life of authentic transparency that does not put on a front or façade of inner fortitude or supremacy. The showing of faithfulness, purity, and integrity is exhibited in our humility before the Lord.

After having breakfast with the Lord, Elijah was strengthened enough to travel 40 days and nights to Mount Sinai. God would come to the mountain and speak with his servant. Some days this life of faith just doesn’t make sense. If we were honest, we would admit that there are seasons that walking by faith feels like going through the motions. I wonder if we examined our life with the Lord for integrity what we would find. Everything I do in Jesus Name must be from a heart of love and devotion not randomness but intentional living and breathing in our relationship with Him.

Proverbs 2:6-8 (NLT) For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

Imagine the potential of our life if we could be completely honest with others. To live and walk in integrity including the fullness of Jesus Christ. The only way that God can work in us is when we become transparent before Him which in turn creates transparency with others. I am of no use to others if I create a façade of perfection or elevate my persona to some unattainable level. The people who need Jesus most (all of us) respond to integrity and truth because it is trustworthy. The Lord is faithful. I fall short. The Lord is perfect. I am imperfect. The Lord never changes. I am in a state of constant change and transformation. He is good. I try to be. God doesn’t need you to be anything other than the broken mess you are. He desires you! He wants you! He loves you with all of His Heart! If you don’t relay that to others, how will they ever know?

Yesterday, I got up and visited with family. Spent the day shopping with the girls and loving on my grandbaby. I didn’t write. I am not sorry. I never want my relationship with Jesus Christ to become habitual. To live a religious life leads others to darkness never life. Can we come to the Lord today with an open heart and mind? Whatever you need – He has for you. Whatever needs to change – He will do it. Can we just decide to love Him and be transparent vessels of Light? When we do – He will carry us through wilderness to the mountaintop time and time again! The city on the hill is the one with the brightest light!

Matthew 5:14-15 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

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Dangerous Habits

dangerous-habits

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. (Aristotle) Successful people are those with successful habits. (Brian Tracy) We often look to those who have achieved success that is coveted to decipher their lifestyle and habits to glean the tips and tricks needed to have the same effect in our life. What are their habits? The things they repeatedly do. Here are some examples that I discovered: Get up early (Robert Iger – Disney CEO), Have a plan (Benjamin Franklin), Stay active (Anna Wintour – Vogue Editor), Prioritize what’s important – Steve Jobs, Make time for hobbies (Warren Buffet), Practice stillness (Oprah Winfrey), Take time to reflect (Bill Gates), Give back (Richard Branson – Billionaire), and Keep up momentum (Jay Z – Rapper/Music Producer. These people are considered highly successful individuals whose wisdom is coveted by those who wish to achieve the same things in life. There is truth in their statements that can be applied to our life and effect positive change.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine. (John C. Maxwell) There is a myth that habits are formed in just 21 days of repeating the same behavior. This is now proven to be a myth. There is a new belief that there are actually three phases to habit formation. The first is the Honeymoon Phase – This is characterized by the feeling that this change will be a piece of cake. The “this is easy” feeling much like in marriage. The first week or two of elation ends when two people begin to actually do life together. The next phase is termed appropriately the Fight Thru Phase. It is when inspiration turns into brutal reality. A person must find the means and motivation to “fight thru” positive habit completion. The final phase is called the Second Nature when balance is achieved and the habit finds its place in our routine becoming engraved in our brain. All of this is not a bad thing, but I have decided that though good habits make for success in life that they can be dangerous to one’s spiritual success.

A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. As I prepared a cup of hot tea this morning, I forgot to put the microwave cover back in its place. I stopped and put it back. It caught my attention. When I was a young person, I was messy. My children all but one have followed suit. Yet now, I make my bed every morning. Put things away after I use them in the proper place. I get up early each morning. I used to love to sleep until noon. There are mornings as I make the commute to work in thought or prayer that I lose track of the journey. Segments of time that I am no longer conscious of the road, lights or other drivers. These are all things that I no longer think about but just do. Some may call these good habits, I tend to agree as they suit me just fine. The part that concerns me is the word “involuntary”. Involuntary means independent of one’s will. It is not by choice. Unintentional. Unconscious. What if my pursuit of Jesus Christ has become a habit and I am no longer aware of it? What if the things I do for the Lord are no longer faith based but just something I do lacking passion and desire? Am I a creature of habit or becoming a new creation? I must examine my heart to be certain that my life is marked by intentional Christianity and not involuntary actions. If you make positive changes, you will most certainly reap what you sow. However, I am not after earthly reform but holy transformation.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

It is comfortable to order our life according to certain behaviors and schedules that offer a level of control. Is the control over my life self-control produced by my ability to change or the Holy Spirit within me? We pattern our lives in accordance with the goals perceived as good and beneficial. At some point, most successful people will achieve some form of balance. This is not all bad, but it can cause our relationship with the Lord to become stagnant. If I judge my life according to the world’s standard, it may appear to be a good life with a fair amount of success. I have had my share of failures. Success is not defined by those who don’t fail but those who do not give up. When I experienced a failure in life, it quickly became a lesson for survival. I am not called and created to survive in this life but to thrive well beyond the 70 or so years that I am given.

With this in mind, if I become comfortable with my life serving God I am susceptible to complacency. Religiosity gives a false send of security to the believer based on good behavior and time well spent serving God that produces certain blessings. I am blessed. Is it enough for me? No, I have a deep desire and burning passion to be transformed. What if transformation doesn’t look like success to the world? It doesn’t my friend. Success in the Kingdom is selflessness that gives way to complete unity with Jesus Christ. I cannot gauge my spiritual success by a worldly standard. I must not become a habitual Christian but strive to be an intentional one.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.” (Charles R. Swindoll) While this is applied in both the natural and spiritual realm equally, I believe that this powerful statement holds the secret to our success as a believer. If we could focus 10% on life and become 90% fixed on responding appropriately by using God’s Word, His Wisdom and Christ’s Example to transform our heart and soul – we would be a successful, healthy and functioning Body of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 3:16-20 (NLT) But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Has my spiritual life become a habit? Am I serving God involuntarily? Am I lukewarm? Am I intentional anymore? Am I willing to be honest with myself? Our life in the Lord is like an onion as each season peels back another layer producing a new aroma and often many tears. What if I get used to the smell and do not give way to those tears anymore. Becoming comfortable with the process of transformation thereby giving way to complacency. How will I know? Will it be too late when my lack of newness becomes evident in the Presence of my Savior? My attitude and actions can be changed by my ability to change certain habits in my life. But if I don’t allow the Lord to expose every weakness and every insufficiency to effectively apply more of His Grace until I am a new creation – my life will be a complete failure. The Lord is offering to strip us of indifference before it’s too late. He wants to heat things up so our life is palatable again. I must be willing. It must be my choice. I must be intentional. It is my conscious decision to be successfully transformed no matter what it takes.

Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT) As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be…is what you do.” (Bill Phillips, Author and Entrepreneur) Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. We are free to choose the life we life. The Lord will not force us into a relationship with Him or this would be void of love but enslavement. He is offering us the opportunity of unity which means I must leave “me” behind and become one with Him. All of me for all of Him. I am free to choose the type of relationship that I have with God. Each day holds 24 hours of opportunity. I am the master of my time. How I spend it? How I waste it? What I do with it? What I get out of it? My mind, body and soul can be invested as I choose to do so. However, if my heartfelt desire is Jesus Christ. It is not a habitual change that will create success in my pursuit but rather intentional surrender and submission of my life to the process of transformation called faith. I must give up my rights to claim righteousness. I must admit I am weak to secure His Strength. Hope must be the anchor for my soul not schedule or routine. I must go where Jesus goes. Do exactly what He says. Come when He calls to me. Not because I have to but simply because He is my greatest desire.

Lord, forgive me today for the lukewarm places in my life. I repent for every action that has become habit and routine lacking passion and burning desire for You, Jesus.  I want to move deeper into Your Presence. I desire You above all things. Show me the areas of indifference in my life so I may surrender them all to You, Lord. Show me the involuntary actions of compromised complacency. I rebuke religious habits and give these also to You! My greatest accomplishment will be acceptance into Your Kingdom forever. Lord, make my life so. I ask you to makeover my heart and renew a right spirit within me, Jesus. All I want is You, Lord and my full intention is to have more of You!

Philippians 3:7-9 (NLT) I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Make Up Your Mind

Make Up Your Mind

Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Every morning my husband and I make our bed before heading out for the day. We were taught as children to do so and it has carried over into adulthood. According to Hunch.com, in a survey of 68.000 people – 59% of people do not make their beds and only 27% do. About 12% pay a housekeeper to make it…lucky them. Of those who made their bed, 71% considered themselves happy but 62% of non-bed makers admit being unhappy. Bed makers were found more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly and fell well rested, but those who did not make their bed indicated that they hated their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired each day. Overall those who took the time to make their bed each day were happier and more successful overall.

 

How does making your bed improve your life? Apparently, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it creates a positive state of mind, lowers stress, prevents embarrassment and leads to other good habits. Who knew? I made my bed as a child because my mother asked me to. I make it now because it is a habit. According to Time magazine, it is one of the top 12 things extremely successful people do along with waking up early, exercise, spending quality time with family, connect with spouses, and pursue passion. Success is a mindset. We develop the habits and routines that define our ability to be productive in life. How can something as simple as making your bed better your life? It has nothing to do with a piece of furniture covered in sheets sitting in the center of your bedroom. It is all about that much smaller space located in between our ears and the lobe of thinking mass called our brain.

I believe the secret to success in the natural and spiritual realm is achieved by having a made up mind every single day. When we awaken in the morning after hitting the snooze button one, two, three or more times, precious time is lost in our morning that could be committed to a made up mind. It sets the course of our day. I am not a morning person. I try not to speak that in the natural anymore because I know now that my words hold power. I use them here simply so one may relate. I find sleep deprivation to be the biggest challenge for me at times. I require a certain amount of sleep to function properly. However, I used to be a night owl staying up all hours of the night to early morning. I had to begin going to bed at 10:00 PM disregarding if I was tired or not, but just doing it so that I could get up earlier and spend time with the Lord each day. I get up around 4:45 AM on the average during the week and around 7:30 AM on the weekends. It is my routine. When I get up, I head straight to my prayer closet and spend time with the Lord. I want Him to tell me something new about Him. I want Him to reveal something in me. Anything is fine. It can be something good or something I need to work on. It really doesn’t matter just as long as He is here.

 

What I have noticed over the years is that as I have taken control of my schedule, established a new routine, and developed better habits – my life is more successful. My flesh still fights some of the changes even though my mind is aware of the benefit. I must make up my mind each day who is in control. It begins by reconciling my thoughts to Jesus Christ. I must set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth. My life is hidden in Christ. I must make up my mind to find my life in Jesus.

Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

This morning when I woke up, this verse was circulating in my mind. The Holy Spirit was clearing up and running before I opened my eyes. It is not unusual to be stirred by the Lord in our sleep. I think God wakes us up at 3:00 AM sometimes because it is the only time that He is able to get undivided attention. If we give Him time in each day, maybe there would be fewer times that we cannot sleep at night. Hold fast the confession of hope without wavering. The Lord is clearly telling me that I must make up my mind about something. I am pretty sure what that is but maybe you have something you are wavering about?

To waver means to sway to and fro. It is to become unstable. To begin to fail or give way. To shake. It is to feel or show doubt. We must have a made up mind in Jesus Christ. Every day there is a battle in our mind for control. Will we give in to our flesh or maintain our new life according to the Spirit of God within us? It really is up to the individual. You control who or what has power and authority in your life. It is all part of the freedom given to us in our new life in Christ. The devil cannot make you do anything. He only has dominion over you to the extent allowed by you. No weapon against you can prosper. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. Jesus overcame the world. Do you believe it? This is the presiding question in each new day.

The Power of God and His Promises are not dictated by our faith in Him but His Faithfulness alone. When we come to the Lord by faith with confidence in the hope, it will produce success in our life simply because we trust the Lord. Trust is destroyed the moment doubt is present. Doubt is a detriment to our life and sin that requires repentance. (James 4:8) James 1:6-7 tells us that a doubleminded man is unstable. Doubt represents a lack of faith. Faith is required to please God. Are you holding fast today? I am getting a grip for sure.

Romans 4:19-21 (NKJV)

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Around this time two years ago, our son was still battling cancer. The “experimental” treatment had been denied and I was waiting on their final answer. When it came back as “no”, I was absolutely rocked to my core. The world had decided the price of life too high at roughly $350K. It is a great deal of money. My son is priceless. I remember thinking and praying during that time envisioning Abraham going up the mountain with Isaac. His son, his promise, his future determined to give the Lord exactly what He asked. I kept recalling God’s Word that our boy would live and not die. I dissected His Word over and over. Finally, I could see my feet digging into the side of the mountain as I made my ascent dragging our son with me. I had decided that God would do a miracle if we made it to the top. If I had to drag his lifeless body all the way up Mount Zion, God would do what He said. Giving up and giving in was not an option. God said it. I believe it. That settled it. No matter what the world said, I would have to hear God tell me different to stop me.

 

Many are in the valley of decision today. In Joel 3:14, it declares that “multitudes” upon multitudes are in such a place as the Day of the Lord draws near. Are you? Am I? It is a place of indecision when we do not have a made up mind. When anyone or anything can dissuade us from our faith in God and trust in His Ability, we are in the valley again.

Romans 8:5-8 (NKJV)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Just as it is proven in many studies that successful people demonstrate certain habits and behaviors consistently, so it is with successful believers. The secret to spiritual success is not habitual although changing our habits will aid in the process. It begins with a choice. Will I serve my flesh today or will I walk in the Spirit? Will I be carnally minded believing what I see and reacting to it? Or will I walk by faith not by sight and respond to the Love of God that I have found? These are two profoundly different pursuits. It requires a choice. We decide who we live for today. There are only two choices. We live for the Kingdom of God or this world. There is no gray area so we must make up our mind.

Jesus has given us the freedom to choose. (Romans 1:28-32) If we do not choose to follow Jesus, there is only one other choice left. You cannot come to the Lord halfheartedly and completion. It is with our whole heart that we experience His Love firsthand. We must steady our anxious thoughts. Stop worrying about what God has already provided. He has supplied all our needs according to His Riches in Glory. He is doing more than we could even think to ask for. We only have to make up our mind and live pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly. Our mind must be continually renewed day by day to have a transformed life. (Romans 12:2) We must have a willing heart and mind committed to finishing every good work that the Lord begins in us seeing it through to fulfilment because God is faithful to finish what He starts. (2 Corinthians 8:10-12) We should be committed to doing the same. Every thought, idea, emotion and feeling must be made up into a sound mind as we reconcile our entire existence to Christ. (Colossians 1:19-23)

Philippians 3:12-16 (NKJV)

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

I have made my bed for many, many years now. I have instructed my children to do the same. It was only recently that I discovered it to be psychologically beneficial in the studies I found on line. I had no idea that it might potentially lead to other successful habits and routines in life. It is discipline. I began doing it because my mother made me. I continued to do it because it is a habit. It is only now that I realize it potentially has led to my success through discipline. See the Word of God doesn’t always make sense, but when we are obedient – it leads to success. As we praise God in His Faithfulness, looking back we can see how it all worked together for our good but during the process many times it seemed like failure was imminent. God’s Ways are not like our ways. There are many things that we are instructed to do in the Word of God AND from the pulpits in this world. I encourage you today to allow Jesus to renew your mind with His Word and His Spirit until it is set on the mark of your high calling. So that you can safely discern if the word you are being fed by mankind is in alignment with that Calling according to Jesus Christ. We must know. We live in a day and age of mixed religion, diluted doctrine, convoluted grace and inaccurate portrayals of God’s Kingdom, His Truth and His Way. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) Without a deliberately and disciplined made up mind…one might be deceived and risk everything on a lie.

We have the Mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:13-16) Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who gives us His Spirit to help us understand and guide us through this life safely into Eternity. Any thought or idea contrary to God’s Word, Will or Way is enmity against God. It is literally hostile to the Lord and His Purpose in our life. Doubt is a faith killer. Negativity is a dream crusher. The thoughts in our head produce the words that come out of our mouth that hold life-giving power or doom and despair. We must make up our mind today…while it still is today who we will serve body, mind and spirit which is to the benefit of our soul. We do not know what today holds. God does and He prepared everything we need to be successful and prosper. God is good. He is for me never against me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He pursues me with His Unfailing Love from which nothing can separate me. All these thoughts and ideas are true and must become the foundation of my life and faith in Christ.

Am I willing to make up my mind each day? To sacrifice my mind, thoughts, ideas and emotions to the Lord as a living sacrifice? Do I want what He wants for me? A doubleminded man or woman is unstable. Those who waver do not get the promise. We must make the decision each day as we make up our bed to make up our mind. Be strong in our commitment to follow Jesus and trust His Way. Lord, help me have a made up mind today. I give every thought and idea to you for spiritual filtration and fulfillment in Jesus Name.

Psalm 26:1-2 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.

Break the Habit – A Devotion

Isaiah 1:11-16 (NLT)

“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting—they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.”

 

According to research, it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. In just three weeks, you can change those things in life that have become routine and compulsive. The first step obviously is to identify the offense in the first place. In our family, we have conquered many of these problems over the years. Nail biting is a bad habit that is quite common in our group. It is a constant struggle within our family. Personally, I believe leaving clothes on the floor and drawers halfway open to be annoying habits as well while others may disagree including my children. Identification is important to overcoming those things in life that require change. One cannot change and will not change that which is acceptable in life. Just because something fits nicely into a routine or schedule does not make it effective and necessary. For highly organized people this can be an issue just as for the disorganized order poses a problem. Even good things can become bad habits. To an obsessive compulsive person, handwashing becomes dangerous when repeated one hundred times a day without cause. Anything and everything in life is subject to becoming a habit or ritual even our worship. God expressed His Extreme Distaste for the ritualistic religion that His People had turned to in Isaiah’s time. God was sick of the offerings. He was over the sacrifice. The ceremony did not impress Him. God found it all meaningless. Pointless were the days of celebration. The gather of His People became burdensome to the Lord. God began to turn His Head from the very things they thought they were doing in His Name. God’s People had missed the point. They were participating in a religion but forsaking the relationship. Following a model of worship but never entering into the Presence of God. God desired a face-to-face relationship with His Children but they had chosen to meet Him from afar. God was over it. The habits of His People were driving Him away. Sadly, the Body of Jesus Christ has not changed their rebellious ways. Worship has become a habit. Church is ceremonious. Prayer is no longer personal and has become almost professional. Fasting is an appointment. The Hands of God’s People are covered with the blood of the innocent ones who came to find a God who would inhabit their life only to find a habit and routine. It’s time to break the habit.

 

Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

 

Church has become a habit. A relationship has turned into a religion. Don’t believe me? If you show up at any church building around 10:00 AM on any given Sunday, you will find people in the midst of a ceremony designed to honor God. Depending on when you show up, you generally know what to expect because they all operate with essentially the same schedule. However, show up at 10:00 AM on any other given day and you may not be so lucky. Encounter the same people in the grocery store line, traffic or at a local business and they are no longer worshipping God but engaged in the routine of life. The person who greeted you at the church building is not necessarily who you will encounter again. It is because as part of the routine, we have developed a ritual or habit of behaving a certain way in the midst of believers in the religiosity of organized worship that is forgotten in life. God despises religion. He does not have time for routine worship or scheduled ceremonies. God desires people who constantly live in worship. Those who learn to do good every day not just on Sunday. It doesn’t impress God but in fact, repulses Him the duplicity of His Own Followers. A relationship with Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven requires a daily commitment to break the habit of religion and forge our way into a committed relationship. We must strive to meet God in life and not just a certain building. God would like nothing more than to spend every moment of every day in a loving relationship with you. He does not want to be the object of your affection but the source of everything. He loves you with intensity and passion that does not abandon you despite your sin. He wants to mess up the routine and mundane life you are living and present you with supernatural opportunities that are only found in His Presence. Are you ready for such a life and love? Get ready. You are about to break some traditions and habits that have molded the image of God in your life in exchange for a whole new side of God’s Identity. God is personal and real to those who do not put Him in a box or on a stand to worship at will. He will change you from the inside out when you allow His Spirit to disrupt your carefully ordered life and allow the magnitude of God’s Glory to fill it. Your habit of worship will become a Holy Habitation of God!

 

Psalm 89:15-17 (NLT)

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.

 

Tired of religion? God is too. Tired of weak worship and worthless faith? God is as well. You are called to a life of worship. It is not scheduled or routine as these are manmade in design to control that which is spiritual. The Presence of God cannot be contained and He does not desire a fancy show. He is looking for those who require His Presence all day, every day. He longs for followers who crave righteousness in the midst of their inability to achieve it. God is not impressed with a good show, successful programs, dressed up people and pious meetings. God wants you! In all your mess, God wants to inhabit your life. He desires to be with you on the good days and even more on the bad ones. He longs to see you at you best but insists on meeting you at your worst. God is real and will settle for nothing less than genuine and authentic faith in His People. The call to worship is every moment of every day. Those who hear it will be happy despite the problems they are facing or the failures that are endured. People who are true worshippers rejoice in all things just because they know the Lord. They prosper in His Righteousness becoming righteous themselves. Weakness is a requirement. You cannot have it all together and benefit from God’s Strength. God wants you to be you. He abhors fake. He inhabits reality. Break the religious habit today and live in the Light of God’s Love. It will break the mold of the mundane and allow the Glory of God to fill your life. What are you waiting for? Try God for the next 21 days…every day meet Him in His Presence. It will change your life. You will break the religious habit. You will develop a life-changing relationship with the One who loves you most!