Valley View Church

Habits: Ten Habits for Spiritual Life Part One

January 08, 2024 Valley View Church
Valley View Church
Habits: Ten Habits for Spiritual Life Part One
Show Notes Transcript

Sunday Worship | January 7, 2024 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY

The sermon series on habits that began this week is a 4-week exploration into spiritual habits and building new ones. The inspiration is drawn from the book "Atomic Habits," emphasizing that small habits can lead to significant results. The introductory video highlights the concept that life is a collection of daily small choices, and the series challenges the notion that only a few life-altering decisions matter. The enemy, it suggests, wants people to believe that small decisions don't matter, whether they are good or bad, but the sermon asserts that every decision counts and adds up.

The focus shifts to examining ten habits for spiritual life based on Romans 12, using the word "HABIT." In the first week, the letter 'H' represents two ideas. The first idea is to "HEAR God's Word," referencing Romans 12:2. The second idea involves the second 'H' in verse 3, encouraging the development of the "HEART of HUMILITY" by not thinking more highly of oneself than one ought to. The sermon sets the foundation for building spiritual habits by emphasizing the importance of these initial habits in the series.

At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.

Well, welcome this morning. It's good to be here with you. As you can see, we're going to talk about habits going into the new year. How do we develop new, stronger spiritual habits? Let me say first, before we dive into that, it's really good to be here. Two weeks ago, I was standing here, but I wasn't really here. I was so sick. I was struggling so bad. And then last week, thankfully, Andrew was already scheduled to preach because there was a group of men in the church who needed some extra ministry. They were taking a trip to an NFL game and they needed a chaperone. So in order to help continue to recover, I went with them just out of pure goodness of my heart is the only reason to love on them and care for them. But here we are this week to start the New Year and we're taking a break from the Book of John. We've been working through the Book of John now, I looked yesterday, since September of ‘22, working our way through the book of John. We're going to take just a few week break here in January, because I think most of us, when we're kicking off a new year, there's just this excitement, there's this interest to start some things new, to maybe revitalize some parts of my life, maybe to breathe some new energy into my life. And we want to kind of ride the wave of that energy and talk about what does it mean to build some new spiritual habits into our lives. And so we're going to do that over the next four weeks. And the word habits is really important. That's really key to use because so much of our lives are just made up of tiny little decisions and small little habits we do every day. You know, most of life is not these gigantic life changing decisions that we make. I mean, those are usually probably only a handful of moments in our life. Most of it is just the daily drip of the small decision, the small, menial, boring things that we do every day, and a lot of it without even thinking. Those are what really shape our lives. So how do we build more of those good habits that just happen automatically without even thinking about it? That's what we want to focus on today. And so to do that, we're going to actually unpack the word habit. We use that as an acronym. We'll go through each of those letters over the next four weeks and we'll end up covering ten habits for spiritual life over the next four weeks, ten Habits for Spiritual Life. This week, we're going to look at two based on the letter H and to do that, we're going to look at the book of Romans. We're going to look at Romans chapter 12, and we'll be pulling from verses in Romans Chapter 12 and 13 all throughout this series, because there's a lot in Romans chapter 12 about the spiritual life, our spiritual habits, the way we grow spiritually in our lives. And so for Letter H, we're going to see this two different aspects of the letter H. I'm going to start in Romans chapter 12, verse two. And if you have a church Bible that's on page 891, if you don't have a Bible, we'd love to put the Bible in your hands. Those are in the connection corner. Those are free for you. Slip out any time. Grab one of those. Keep it. We want you in God's word. We're going to talk a lot about that today. That being a key to your spiritual growth in 2024 is to be in God's word. Great start is to get a copy of his word. But let's start by reading Romans chapter 12, verse two, and have that set up the first letter H.

Verse two:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. I love this verse. This verse is going to set up the first principle from the letter H that we're going to discuss, which is Hear the Word of God. One of the disciplines, the habits you want to develop this year is to hear the Word of God, to be in the Word of God. And here's why. What we're trying to counteract is the very first phrase here Do not be conformed to this world. That word conformed has a wide range of meaning. But one of the pictures, the imagery we get with it, it's this idea of being pressed into a mold, of being shaped by something. I think of things like maybe wax poured into a candle mold or, you know, Play-Doh. When you've played with it, do you have different cookie cutter shapes or objects that you can mold it into, to shape it into? And so this verse says, Do not be conformed to this world. Don't be pressed into the mold of this. Actually, the word’s not world, it's age. Don't be pressed into the mold of this age. Don't let this age be what shapes you, molds you. And of course, every age has its fascination, its thing that says everyone must follow. I've even I've read a bunch of from the monk Thomas Merton over the last year, and he talks a lot about when he was in his twenties or when he was in his twenties in the twenties and thirties. Growing up in the twenties and thirties. The fascination of that time as he was an intellectual in New York State, working on his Ph.D. before he became a monk. And all the fascination, all the rage with everyone around him was communism. You know, you had to become a communist if you were really enlightened. That's what will change the world. Capitalism's the real problem. If we bring in communism, that's going to change everything. And he didn't even know what communism was, but he was convinced I got to I got to do that. That's the thing to do. That's the mold of that age. And of course, later he realized how silly that was for him to just go along with what everyone else was doing. Every age has its thing that they say this is the right way to live, the right thing to believe. You're facing that now. Our age is no better. It may not be communism now, but I hear from a number of you. If you're not very careful with what you say at work, you may not be there any longer. It could be. And how you talk about pronouns, it could even just be mentioning that you have a faith. Don't let this world press you into its mold. Now, the counteraction to that in this verse, look at what it says to do instead of being conformed, pressed into the mold shaped by this world. Look at what it says. Instead of that, it says, Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. And part of the contrast between those two words conformed is focused on the outward shape and appearance. But transformed drives to the inward foundational shaping of your very core and character of who you are. There's a drastic difference between those two, not just focused on outward appearances. A friend of mine I worked with in publishing, she said, Let's say we had a book we needed to publish and the content wasn't very good. She said, Well, what we'll do, she said, We're going to put some lipstick on that pig, meaning we'll put a nice cover on it and maybe people will buy it then. We don't want to just focus on the outward appearance. We want to change from the very inward nature of our character, at our very core, to be transformed. In fact, as I was studying this passage, one thing I like to do, I encourage you, I usually have kind of we teach from the ESV, I have a base translation that I tend to read in my own Bible study time. But but I like to read a lot of different translations. I think that really brings insight into a passage is to read broadly. It's a great thing to do. One of the translations I ran across, I thought summarized up this idea so well. It's by Eugene Peterson. It's more of a paraphrase, but read this on the screen with me. Look at how he takes this verse and shapes it in kind of everyday language. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. But that becomes your default behavior, Whatever the culture says, whatever the mold at this age, that's just where I fall automatically without thinking, No, no, no. Instead, fix your attention on God, you'll be changed from the inside out. I love the way he said that. How do we become transformed? That word sounds like our English word. Metamorphosis, completely changed. How do we become transformed from the inside out? How does that happen? Well, part of the way that happens is right here in the verse, Look at how it continues. Do not be conformed to the world. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. We have to renew our mind, renew our thinking, develop new thinking. That's part of how we change. That's part of how we're transformed. Now, in order for our thinking to be changed, a couple of things need to happen. And the first thing that needs to happen is that you need to be convinced that you need to change. Have you ever tried to convince someone they need to change when they don't think they do? How does that go? It's called the toddler years, right? Doesn't go well. No. The first step is to be convinced that maybe I do need to change. And I've shared this story before, but this happened recently with a friend of mine. He shared the story where his wife came to him with a concern and they got into an argument about it and he ended up he said, John, I remember where I was standing, where I said these words, I'm not proud of it, but I can't get it out of my head. I said to her, I'm not the problem in this relationship. You are. You're the one who needs to change. And even as he was saying it, you just saw his shoulders droop and his head hanging down. So she actually calls his bluff. She goes to counseling. Okay. I'm the one who needs a change. Let me go work on myself. Goes to counseling. Counselor recommends a book. He, being a bit of a control freak, says, Let me read it first to make sure it's okay for you to read. And he's reading the book. And in the middle of the book he goes, Oh no, she's not the problem. I'm the problem. It's not her. It's me. And in a moment, he went from, I don't want to hear anything about changing to I desperately have to change. That's the first step is to recognize even the starting point is maybe I should change now. Once you're there, what do you do? Well, the second step is you need new information. You got to where you are with the same old information. And if you keep relying on that, that's not going to make a difference. I think in addiction, they use this phrase if in addiction and recovery, if nothing changes, how many of you have heard this? Can you complete it for me? If nothing changes, nothing changes. Thanks, John, for the brilliant flash of the obvious. But you understand that if I don't change my friends, my patterns, my behaviors, the places I go, the things I do. If none of that changes, then your addiction is not going to change. Nothing's going to change. So how do we renew our mind with new information? This is what everything is driving to. We got to get God's word in our heart more and more and more and more. Let this be whatever goals you've set for 2024, let this be the highest goal you have for 2024 to get God's Word deep in your heart, deep in your mind, deep in your soul in fact, the verse. I love to quote.

Psalm 119:

11. It goes like this I have hidden, or you could say stored up God's word in my heart so that I might not sin against him. It's that activity, that intentional activity of intake in God's Word, having it slowly over time, renew your mind, to change your mind, to transform your mind. We really try hard here at Valley View to make it easy for you to be in God's Word, because honestly, it's not always easy. I mean, many of us struggle to get in God's word. There's so many other things pulling for our attention. So we try to do a lot of things to make it easy. One of the things we do, and Andrew talked a lot about it this week, by the way, Andrew did a great job that last week was so grateful for him stepping up and helping out. But he talked a lot about our Bible reading plan as a church. We've got a new one this year. We do a different one now for the last three years. And I want to talk a little bit about that because that's on purpose. So our first one we did, three years ago now, was we read through the whole Bible in a year, many people have never read through the whole Bible that if you read through the whole Bible, even though it feels like a lot, and there's times where you're getting lost in it and you may have to skim and you might skip a couple of days because you got behind, but you end up getting the whole big picture of the Bible. And when you understand the whole big picture, that helps make more sense of all the individual parts as you go. So we read the whole Bible, but then, last year, we just read the New Testament because the New Testament really shapes the basis of our day to day faith, the Old Testament is the foundation for that, but more day to day in terms of how we live and act. We're going to go to the New Testament more as Christians, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs to give some daily worship. Well, this year, and as you can see, we're funneling down. We start broadly a little less last year with the New Testament. This year we're just going to focus as a church on the Acts and the Gospels, Psalms and Proverbs, and we're just doing it five days a week. And so that gives you more space to just meditate, dwell, chew on shorter passages, spend more time just reading about Jesus, all the different accounts of his life, and we'll repeat that cycle every three years. All Bible, New Testament, Acts, Gospels, funneling down, more focus, more time to meditate, more time to dwell on a passage. And you need both. You need to understand the big picture, but you need time just to soak in a few verses, just to soak it up to see what God is saying to you in that moment. And so we try to make that easy. If you have your favorite Bible reading plan that you've done since 1984, that's great. Keep doing it. That's okay. But if you don't have one, we've made it easy for you. Those are out in the lobby. And then also, any time you want to find it, it's on our website. We've been putting a ton of information on our website over the last two years. If you can throw up those images, this is going to be kind of hard to see. But there's a tab at, the top that says, Do you need help going through that up? Do you have a need? And then if you scroll down under that how to grow spiritually, it's a whole nother tab. And under there we have the Bible reading plan. You can download that there any time we have copies in the back, but any time you want, you can go there. Obviously you can't read that, but you see that's where you find it. That's where it shows up. It makes it easy to find. Another thing we have under that tab, how to grow spiritually, is memorizing scripture. So as a church, we memorize Scripture together. Every month we have a new scripture memory verse. And I bet if I went around everyone in here, each of us would say, I really need to memorize more scripture this year. I need more of God's Word memorized, sown in my heart. I think one of the challenges we face is we all know we should. But finding the time, making it easy is hard. And so with almost every single scripture memory verse that we've done as a church, we have a song attached to it. We've made it super easy, in fact, by just playing the songs, play the songs for a few minutes a day, by the end of the year, you'll have 12 new verses memorized in a year. And I think if we went around and asked How many versus did I memorize last year, it probably wouldn't be 12. For most of us, 12 may not sound like a lot, but look, that's a step forward of just hiding some of God's word in our heart. Those verses are going to come up throughout what we do in the church. I'm going to bring them up. I bring them up in the mid-week update. I talk about them there. That's another way for you to just continue to grow throughout the week. Make sure you're signed up for the mid-week update. You'll see that scripture memory verse there. Here's another thing, though, about learning scripture through song. How many times have you memorized a verse? You've got it nailed, and then someone asks you do it next week and you have no idea what it is. You know, I remember in seminary we had this class where they were preparing you for the oral exam, which is high pressure. They can ask you anything for 30 minutes straight, and it's just rapid fire questions about theology. And to prepare for that, they're asking us rapid fire questions, creating this real intense environment and the guys asking questions. Nobody can answer them. We're all just scared to our wits. And finally he goes, okay, who can quote John


16? And all of us are like, I don't even was that in the Bible? You know, we're all just frozen. Can't even remember

John 3:

16 In that moment. Look, that happens. But when you memorize a song, scripture put to song, you'll never forget it. In fact, the worse the song is, the better. Right? The more likely you are to remember it. So we've tried to make it easy. That's on that same page. I think you already showed the picture of that. We list all those out. The picture he showed was from last last year's verses. We're slowly rebuilding that page for the coming year, memorize Scripture together, get the mid-week update. And then lastly, let me make a comment about the sermons in terms of how you can continue to be in God's word. You know, we've been working through the Book of John and we've been working through it in small segments on purpose. There's a there's a reason behind that. That allows you, when you go home Sunday afternoon to just throughout the week, continue to read over that passage. You might just pick one or two days during the week. Let's say we just studied

John 18:

1-11, 12- in that range. If you read that passage a couple of more times that week, you're going to see some more insights you didn't see. You're going to absorb a little more from that and that makes it easy for you to just continue to go deep in God's word. I think a number of us, when by the time we get through the Book of John, you're going to have learned a lot about the Gospels, about Jesus's life, because you've meditated more and you've spent more time in it. All right. Those are some of the practical things we do as a church to try to help you get into God's word. Now, I'm going to talk a little bit about the science of building a habit just for a moment. There's a great book. I'd recommend that I'm pulling some of this from called Atomic Habits. Have any of you heard of that book? It's pretty popular right now. This is written by a guy named James Clear. It's not a Christian book. It's just on how do you, anybody, build new habits? Apart from many of the Christian books I've read over the last five years, that's been probably one of the more influential books in my life and in the life of a lot of other people I know. I've probably read it four or five times, been in different discussion groups. And one of the things he talks about is that when you want to start a new habit, so if you've not been regularly in God's Word, if you want to build a new habit, there's a few key things you can do to make it easy to start the habit. Now the focus here is on starting the habit, that’s what you want to do, you want to focus on starting the habit. A lot of times when I want to start a new habit, I'm also focused on the end game. Yeah, I've never read the Bible before. I want to read the whole Bible in the coming year. That can be daunting. That can be overwhelming. Instead, let's focus on just getting the habit started. So here's some practical ways to start a new habit. Of course, my hope is that you apply that to reading God's Word regularly. But here's the first one. If you want to start a new habit, start by attaching it to an existing habit connected to something you already do regularly without even thinking. Like, so for instance, you might say, When I turn on the coffee pot, I'm going to read a verse of the Bible. I might lay my Bible reading plan right there, right next to the coffee pot, might put my coffee mug right on top of it or it on top of my coffee mug, or when I brush my teeth and I know you do, right? I'm sure you do. When I brush my teeth, I'm going to read a verse of the Bible. You attach it to something that you already do without fail and connected to it. That makes it easier to get over the emotional hurdle of starting a new habit. So that's one. The second habit- way to start a new habit to make it easy. Look at this next one. Flash the next one up on the screen. Make it super easy to begin with. So don't try to start a new habit, and if you never work out, I'm going to start into this three hour a day workout program tomorrow. No, no. Make it so easy to start with that you can't not do it. So instead of I never read the Bible, let me read the whole Bible next week. No, what can I do that seems like I can't not do it? It's so simple. Can I read a chapter of the Bible? I don't know. That seems like a lot too. What about half a chapter? Maybe. What about one verse? Can you read one verse a day? I can't not do that. That's ten, 15 seconds. Of course. Make it. When you're trying to start a new habit, make it so easy that you can't not do it. Because the goal is to start the habit. Here's an example of that. I read the story in that book of a guy who needed to lose 100 lbs. He had let himself go, was in a bad state, and he knew to do that. Part of the issue for me is I need to exercise, I need to get into the gym. So he he just made it his goal here was his goal for one month. My goal is just to arrive at the gym every day. And so he went to the gym that first week. He walked in, set a timer on his watch for 5 minutes, and when it went off, he left. That whole first week, didn't do a thing sit there scrolling through his phone. But I'm at the gym, I’ve developed that habit of being at the gym. Second week, same thing, five minute timer. Done. I'm out. I put in my time here at the gym today. The third week he goes in, sets his timer, and he goes, You know what? I'm already here. I might as well do something. And he starts doing a little bit exercise, starts doing a little more. Few people get to know him, show him what to do, and a year later, he had lost all 100 lbs. Now, when he was trying to start that habit, it seems silly to say I just went in there, sat down and left. But the goal was to develop the habit of showing up to the gym regularly and that's what he was doing. He made it easy to start with. Of course you don't want to stay there a year from now, just showing up for 5 minutes and leaving, but you want to get that habit going. That's one of the methods of doing that. Make it easy to begin with. All right. Now, the third way, practical tip for starting a new habit and again, I hope we're applying this to the reading and study of God's word. And this applies to a lot of different areas. Determine your next physical action to take. You can apply this whether it's a new habit or just something hard you need to tackle. Don't leave it this big, vague thing. I need to be a better person. Well, what does that mean? What's the next physical action you need to take if it's my car isn't running right? I don't say I need to get my car fixed. First If I'm new to the area and don't know where to go, I need to find a mechanic. Well, how do I do that? Well, I need to call someone. Well, who do I call? Call Bill. Do you have his number? No. Call Steve and get Bill's number. That's my next physical action. Call Bill. Get Steve's number so I can either way, so I can ask him for a recommendation. What makes it even better is if you then write it down and tell someone tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., I'm going to call Steve and ask him for Bill's number. Honey, did you hear that? That's what I'm going to do tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.. I'm going to do it and you lock it in. But you've made it one super simple step clear next physical action to take. There's a lot of power in that in terms of getting a new habit started. So reading God's word, being in God's word, hearing God's word, that's that first part of letter H that we're unpacking here in terms of building new habits for the coming year. And if there's one thing you do this year, get in God's word, let it transform your mind so that in fact, it says in verse two, you may discern what is the will of God. If you want to know God's will for your life in 2024, let His Word transform and renew your mind. So that's the first half of letter H. Now let's look at the second half, and this is in verse three of Romans 12, verse three For by the grace given to me, I say to every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. So first half of letter H, hear the Word of God. Second half develop a heart of humility. In 2024, one of the spiritual habits we want to develop is a heart of humility, a heart of humility. And how do we do that? How do you develop a heart of humility? That's not always easy. It says here not to think of yourself more highly than you ought, but also don't think of yourself in contrast to that more lowly than you ought. The contrast to that is not to then think you're the worst. If you thought you were the best when you weren't, we don't ...No instead, what it says is think with sober judgment is the word that’s used, sober judgment. I love the use of that word. In fact, my father in law, he calls alcohol liquid courage. You ever heard that? Meaning for some makes him think maybe you could do a little better than you really can? You take on a little more than you really should? In fact, you've probably seen those memes, Hold my beer. Right? That's the famous last words for someone who goes, Watch me do this. Watch me take this on. Instead of overestimating, think with sober or sound judgment, clear thinking, thinking rightly about the moment. That's where humility starts. I have to assess rightly where I am with accurate thinking. That's hard to do. I don't know about you, but I don't always like to do that. Sometimes I'd rather just live in oblivion. As a kid I loved, I loved, I lived for the summer as a little kid when I could just kick off my shoes and run all summer through the cold, cool grass and just run and play and run and run and run. And I thought, because I love to run so much, I thought I was fast. That was a little too much laughter. And so we did a track meet here at church. We used to have our royal ambassadors for Christ and they would do these track meets. And the first one I go to, I'm thinking, I'm going to murder everyone here, destroy... dead last by a long shot. Not even close. It must have been a fluke. Must have been my shoes. Next track meet, same thing. That's humbling- that hurts. I had to deal with reality. I thought I was fast. I thought of myself more highly than I ought. Now, the contrast to that is not to then think I'm the worst person on earth. No, you're just not as fast as you thought. You got to deal with reality to move towards humility. Another challenge, though, with developing a heart of humility, coming back to that idea of being formed by our age, it is not a positive attribute to be called a humble person in our world in general. I remember reading Winston Churchill talk about a man in Parliament, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, during World War Two, and he he described him this way. He said he's a humble man with much to be humble about. That wasn't a compliment, right? We don't normally say, he's a very humble person. You might. But in our age it's all about self-promotion, not humility. You know, it used to be that the president, presidential candidates, wouldn't actually go around campaigning for themselves. They would let other people do that. It was considered inappropriate for you to go around self-promoting. That's not the case anymore. The game is all about whichever side you pick, any politician at all, part of the game. Here's how great I am. Here's why you should depend on me. It's a different age. How do we move towards a heart of humility? How do we develop a heart that honors Christ and all we do? It says here, don't think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think with sober judgment each according to the measure of faith given to him. How do we develop sober judgment? How do you begin to think about yourself rightly in the moment? Going back to that book, Atomic Habits, he uses this phrase that we should over time develop what are called identity based habits. And this is a helpful phrase. It takes a little bit to get our mind around, but identity based habits versus activity based. Let me explain a couple of things. We've all done this. You use statements about yourself that talk about your very core identity, even when you're just only talking about an activity. Like, for instance, I'll run into people. And by the way, I've even done it this morning of forgetting someone's name. It happens. But the more people you meet, the more names you'll forget. But I'll run into someone and here's the phrase. They'll say, I'm not good at names. I'm not good at remembering names. Who said that? Here. Come on. We can own up to it. Right? Many of us have said it at times. Do you hear that? That's. That's an identity statement. That's who I am. I'm no good at names versus you know what? I just forgot this person's name in the moment. You know, I could have just said I didn't remember their name. Now, instead of making an identity statement about who I am at at my core. Now, that's one example. And when we come to develop an identity based statement, going back to the example of a guy who just showed up at the gym every day, here's the phrase he began to say about himself. I'm the kind of person who never misses a day at the gym. That's who I am. That's part of my core, my character. And so when it comes to developing a heart of humility, we've got to be reshaping our identity, the way we see ourselves, with sober judgment, not too highly than we ought, but with sober judgment. Here's who I am and let me give you an example of ways I've done that in my own life. There's seasons when I really struggled with very negative self-talk. My default tape would be when I did something wrong. What a moron you are. What an idiot. How stupid could you be? Have you ever done anything right in your life? That's the immediate Thank you for no amens, by the way. I appreciate that. I'm sure if I ask for a show of hands, I won't. There's some of you who would go. You know what? Yeah, I've talked to myself that way too. Do you talk to yourself worse than your worst enemy would? How dumb can you be? Now we've got to reshape that identity, that thinking that is not true of you. The response to that is to not go. I'm perfect, all right? I can never do anything wrong. We don't overreact to that more highly than I ought, I think, with sober, accurate judgment. So instead of that, what an idiot. What a moron. You never do anything right. Here's where it goes. Again, it's not, I'm perfect. I never do anything wrong. Here's where it is. It's more along the lines of I'm someone who continues to grow and improve, even in the midst of challenges, depending on Christ through that. You see the difference there? It acknowledges that you make mistakes. You don't pretend that you mess up, that you don't, or whatever. You know you're not perfect. But I am someone, when challenges come, I'm going to continue to grow. I'm going to continue to get better dependent on Christ through that and where that takes us is that shapes your identity and ultimately helps you grow in a heart of humility. All of this comes back to the reality that for that to happen, you've got to be in God's Word. That's the only place where you're going to find sound judgment, sober truth, everlasting principles, especially in our crazy, crazy world where who knows what is right or wrong, and it's going to change next week. An absolute truth in our culture today will be changed the next week. In fact, you will be vilified for believing what you believed last week, a month ago, two months ago. It's like that. I don't know about you, but I desperately want an eternal truth to stand on in the midst of that madness. That's why we get in God's Word. That's what will change you. The goal of developing these habits. I've given you these tips and tricks. The goal here is not just so that you'll know more of God's Word so that you can appear as someone who knows God's Word, or that you can appear as a humble person. No, the goal of all of that is to know Christ, is to know Him personally, is to know His love for you day in and day out. And he loves you so much. And there's so many days where we don't realize that. He loves you. He loves you more than anyone else has ever known or loved you. He loves you no matter what you do, He loves you. We need to know his love. That's why we look to be in his word. Develop a heart of humility. So our memory verse

for January is Luke 16:


Luke 16:10:

He who is faithful in little will also be faithful in much. You see the connection between that verse and our series on habits? One who is faithful with little will also be faithful with much. Maybe I can't change my whole life in a moment, but I can focus on this one thing right now. I had an uncle. In fact, he was my great, great, great uncle Emory Reese, you can show the picture of him and his wife, Deborah. They were missionaries to Africa in western Kenya, 1900-1925. They translated-- amazing couple-- all that they did in this area, translated the New Testament into this local tribal language, brought the first printing press to the area, developed the language learning curriculum for the tribe in that area, built the first brick factory. They developed the finest bricks in the area, very active people serving. And by the way, this was a time when when you went overseas for missions, it's a little bit cliche, but people pack their stuff in their coffin. We're not coming back. They did come back. But most people, they buried two or three children there. No guarantees that you'd even make it there. And he's there. I've got a collection of letters between him and family members back. They were lived in Illinois. He's there struggling, as you can imagine. You're going to have ups and downs. And he writes his dad asked him for advice, asked him for wisdom. Am I making a difference? Is this what God has me to do? And he writes him this one simple line

that sums up Luke 16:

10. Here's what he says to his son overseas. Serving the Lord, giving his life to missions. Doesn't know if we'll ever see him again. Here's what he says. Do the littles. Do them well and watch them multiply in your hands. Habits. Small change producing big results over time. Let's pray.