Loving God and Loving Others

Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act. The Bible says, “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24 NIV)

God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us. All three are indispensable for character development. God’s Word provides the truth we need to grow, God’s people provide the support we need to grow, and circumstances provide the environment to practice Christlikeness.

If you study and apply God’s Word, connect regularly with other believers, and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances, I guarantee you will become more like Jesus.

Many people assume all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study and prayer. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study or prayer alone. God uses people. He usually prefers to work through people rather than perform miracles so that we will depend on each other for fellowship. He wants us to grow together.

In many religions, the people considered to be the most spiritually mature and holy are those who isolate themselves from others in mountaintop monasteries, uninfected by contact with other people.

But this is a gross misunderstanding. Spiritual maturity is not a solitary, individual pursuit!

You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. You must be around other people and interact with them. You need to be part of a church and community.

Why? Because true spiritual maturity is all about learning to love like Jesus, and you can’t practice being like Jesus without being in relationship with other people.

Remember, it’s all about love — loving God and loving others.

By Pastor Rick Warren

Why does this make so much sense?  Of course, it is other people -- spiritual role models--that help us learn to be more Christ like.  They help us see miracles, and they help us understand.  Of course, there are those around us that help us to be better friends, citizens, and Christians.  Then on the flip side:  there are those around us that don’t help us to be better.  Do they encourage us to speak badly about our fellow man? Do we feel negative, defeated, and/or inferior—certainly not Christlike?  Do we make poor choices?  Just like Pastor Dave says:  “We’re both Saints and Sinners!”

Heavenly Father, help us to always want to be more Christ like, and thank you for all of the loving relationships you give to us.   Provide special people in our lives that teach us and bring us closer to You.  Help us to be strong around those that don’t; help us to “put on a new self”.  Amen

Have a wonderful day!

Jill Maclay

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