by Blake Carroll

This content is part of a series.

Habits For Growing Christians (2 of 5)
Series: Spiritual Growth
Blake Carroll
1 Timothy 4:7

Reba McEntire is one of the most successful entertainers in country music. One of the reasons for her success is a basic philosophy which motivates her. She says, "One of the most important lessons I've learned is that you're never as good as you could be. There's always room for improvement."

That is also the philosophy of effective Christians. The reason they are more effective than other Christians is their recognition that they are never as good as they can be. Because of that, they are committed to continual improvement in their Christian lives.

How can we make improvements in our lives as Christians? There are two basic answers to that question.

Improvements in our lives can be made by FORCES ON THE OUTSIDE.

Sometimes for example the Lord uses people to shape our lives. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpers another." Either by their example or by their encouragement, other people can be instruments of growth for us.

At other times the Lord uses circumstances to develop us. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God."
God uses both our good and bad circumstances to shape our lives.

Improvements in our lives can also be made by HABITS ON THE INSIDE.

This is the idea captured in our text. Writing to young Timothy, Paul said: "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." Godliness is the ultimate goal of spiritual growth. Discipline is the method by which we reach this goal.

In his remarkable book entitled The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino wrote, "In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure." We are shaped by our habits.

That is also true of the Christian lif ...

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