Talking about good habits that will help you prosper legitimately sounds
difficult to some people, yet James urges people to get closer to God.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you
sinners, and purify your hearts…”
1. Always Give thanks.
opens our eyes to all that God is doing around us. It helps us
cultivate a heart that is satisfied and trusts God rather than
complaining about our circumstances and groaning against Him.
continually gave thanks to God. Before Jesus fed over 5,000 with 2 fish
and 5 loaves, he “took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to
those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the
fish,” John 6:11. Later, John records that, just before Jesus raised
Lazarus from the dead, he “looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that
you have heard me,’” John 11:41. Even on the night Jesus was arrested,
he still gave God thanks. 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 says that “the Lord
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given
thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do
this in remembrance of me.’”
2. Practice humility.
humility is giving up our own selfish and vain desires so we can do the
will of God. Jesus humbled himself to obey the Father, even though he
was the Son of God.
Philippians 2:5-8 says: “Your attitude should
be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did
not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made
himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in
human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled
himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
3. Study the Word.
can’t become like Christ if we don’t know him. Jesus is revealed in the
Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments. But the Bible isn’t
just a book to learn about God. The Bible is alive and active, and God
uses our time reading it to convict us, to guide us, to point us to
truth, to answer prayer and to transform our thinking.
the value of studying the Bible and encouraged Timothy, his young
charge, to continue studying the Scriptures which he’d done since his
youth. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant
of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:16.
4. Serve others.
of the ways we can grow more like Christ is to look for ways to serve
others. We should ask God to help us to see people as he sees them, see
their need, and then be willing to stop and serve them.
modeled this service just before going to the cross. In the upper room,
Jesus got up from the table, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured
water into a bowl and washed his disciples’ feet. How could Jesus, who
was Lord and Master, stoop to wash their feet? Jesus was teaching by
example. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you
also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you
should do as I have done for you,” John 13:14-15.
5. Prioritize prayer.
prayed often, and he made it a priority to get away by himself for
regular prayer. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed,”
Luke 5:16. He spent whole nights in prayer and prayed deeply before and
after crucial events. Before calling the 12 apostles, Jesus spent the
night in prayer. Before Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified, he
spent time in intense prayer. And after feeding the 5,000, Jesus went up
to a mountain alone to pray.
Jesus’ prayer life must have caught
his apostles’ attention because the only thing they ever asked Jesus to
teach them was how to pray. “One day Jesus was praying in a certain
place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach
us to pray,” Luke 11:1. Jesus never let busyness or pressing need keep
him from prayer, an example for us if we want to become like him.
6. Die to self.
we want to grow more like Christ, we need to die daily to ourselves –
our comfort, agenda, ambitions, cravings, and sin. The call to follow
Christ is the call to lay down our lives and take up the cross. “I have
been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ
lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,” Galatians
It’s a daily death. Each time we allow God to interrupt our
plans or turn from a temptation or obey God even when it costs, we die
to self. “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple
must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For
whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their
life for me will save it,’” Luke 9:23-24.
7. Love one another.
new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you
must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another,” John 13:34. Believers are told to
“be devoted to brotherly love,” Romans 12:10.
Loving others helps
us become more like Christ as we learn what real love is and how to
love. We learn to put others’ needs before our own, to forgive an
offense, to encourage rather than envy, and to compassionately bear each
other’s burdens. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for
us,” Ephesians 5:1-2.
Living right makes you a candidate for God’s rich blessings.
[written by Lisa Appelo]