James 1:22–25 (ESV)
- Matthew 7:24
- Matthew 7:26
Breaking Down the Action into Parts
- Relationship With God
- Relationship With Self
- Relationship With Community
Relationship With God
Habit # 1
Believe the Gospel
When James writes about works, he’s assuming that you already believe the .
Faith in the gospel is a prerequisite for living.
The gospel is news.
You can’t appreciate the good news unless you understand the bad news.
Jesus tells us the bad news:
- John 8:34
- We are born into slavery and our slave master is sin.
- We sin because our slave master requires it. We have no power to break free from it.
- Even the most ethical person is still a slave to sin because no human ethic fulfills God’s righteous requirement. (Romans 3:10)
- We became sinners through a genetic act of : Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, sinned and we received their spiritual DNA—which makes us guilty before God’s law, affecting us in three key ways:
- Our Nature: we are born disposed to sin
- Our Vision: we can’t see truth (we only have a way that seems right)
- Our Status: we are criminals subject to the wrath of God
Then Jesus tells us the good news:
- John 8:36
- Jesus takes the penalty for our sin on the cross
- We become through a genetic act of substitution:
- Our Nature: we are born again in Christ, receiving His DNA
- Our Vision: We have capacity to learn God’s ways as He teaches them to us
- Our Status: We declared righteous before God’s holy law
Now that our debt has been paid, we should not obey God with the confidence of someone who has nothing to prove.
We must obey God with the confidence that God is upholding us as we obey.
We must act with the confidence of someone whose moral capacity has already been settled in Christ.
This doesn’t mean we’ll never stumble, but that even our imperfections get perfected as we continue to obey God.
Habit # 2
Identify With Christ
1 Corinthians 6:9–10
- This passage is a list of various ways the sin nature can be expressed.
- We’re all somewhere on this list in heart or in deed.
- The lust of sin and the act of sin are morally equivalent.
- Notice that the sins aren’t ranked. (James 2:10–11)
1 Corinthians 6:11
To live as a righteous person, you can’t just claim righteous behavior. You have to claim a righteous .
In order to identify with , you must disidentify with unrighteousness.
Habit # 3
Trust the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a source of wisdom (James 1:5)
Note: You won’t listen to what God says if you’re not paying attention to what He .
The Holy Spirit perfects our character (James 1:3–4; Galatians 5:22–23)
The Holy Spirit leads us away from the flesh
Relationship with Self
Habit # 4
- Your body and mind are like children. They size you up to see what they can get away with.
- You can train your body and mind to obey you.
Habit # 5
- Creating your own boundaries demonstrates that you’re taking ownership of your integrity.
- Boundaries are guided by the principles of Scripture and your personal discretion.
- The subjective part of boundaries can be based on the following things:
- Holy Spirit
Relationship with Community
Habit # 6
Cultivate 360 Degree Accountability
- People pray for you
- You pray for others
Habit # 7
Repent and Seek Forgiveness from God
Habit # 8
Confess Your Sins to Trusted People in Your Christian Community
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2022