"Upward" habits for 2017

The beginning of the year is always a great time to evaluate how far we’ve traveled and grown in the past 365 days; hopefully we’re moving in the right direction and ready to take on 2017! John Maxwell states that we often have “uphill hopes with downward habits.” Here are few tips to make sure we’re developing the right spiritual “habits” this year, to continue deepening our relationship with Jesus.

1. Get back into the Bible.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and forever, Amen." (2 Pet. 3:18) Peter’s call to the early church is just as important for us today: “Grow!” God’s will for every Christian is to grow, increase, and be fruitful. This happens by deepening our relationship with Him through reading and knowing the Word! You need the Bible like you need food. Stop over thinking it. Ask the Holy Spirit to light up the verses you need to hear, and be ready to receive.

2. Pray. Pray. Pray.

"As well could you expect a plant to grow without air and water as to expect your heart to grow without prayer and faith." - Charles Spurgeon

Draw close to the Lord and He is faithful to draw close to you. Pray with faith, passion, expectation, and perseverance. Make a lifestyle of prayer this year!

3. Connect with the church.

You won’t make it very far without a community of people (the Church) who will encourage, bless, and hold you accountable. Start this year by forgiving all those in the church who have hurt you. Holding offenses is a self-inflicting wound to your heart. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. Then, find your place in the Church. There is a place in which you are needed and only you can fill!

4. Break sinful habits.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

Have you been stuck in a spiritual rut? Have the same personal and relational issues been reappearing? Are you addicted to your anger, shame, and lust? It’s time to break free. Sinful habits and ruts are not to be your destiny. Jesus has paid the cost of freedom in full. Walk in it! Repent and experience what it means to be saved by His grace! Don’t walk this out alone any more. Ask for help! Bring whatever is hidden in the darkness into the light, and be free!

What other spiritual habits are you starting this year?