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Practice Jesus' Habits

Practice Jesus' Habits

All of us have habits - regularly repeated behaviors that shape our lives, for better or for worse. The best habits are those that Jesus, God incarnate, practiced during His time on Earth. Since He designed life, He knew how to live it most effectively.

You can learn a lot from what Jesus taught, but even more from practicing what He did. The more you devote yourself to emulating Jesus' habits, the more God will bless you.

Here's how you can make Jesus' habits your own:

Practice seclusion. Withdraw from everyday noise and demands on a daily basis to spend some time with God, to connect with him and recharge your emotional and spiritual batteries.

Practice prayer. Choose to pray regularly; don't wait until you feel like doing so. During prayer: praise God, thank God, confess your sins to God, ask God for something on behalf of other people, and present your personal requests to God.

Practice worship. Focus on encountering God to: praise Him for who He is; thank Him for what He has done; confess your sin; surrender your mind, will, and emotions; offer him your total life; obey what He tells you to do; ask Him to work in your life; tell others of your love for Him; and experience new love for Him and a new commitment to Him.

Practice building relationships. Take the initiative to get to know people well for the purpose of making an impact for Christ as well as meeting your own need for relating to others.

Practice touch. Affirm people in appropriate ways by touching them, such as through a hug, handshake, or pat on the back. Every day, ask God for the opportunity to touch someone who needs it. Determine to be the hands of Christ wherever you go.

Practice confrontation. Be willing to deal with another person about an issue head-on, in a spirit of love and truth, with your sole motive being to help that person.

Practice challenging the status quo. In a spirit of love, choose to challenge that which continues on as a tradition but no longer serves a good purpose.

Practice listening. Focus on what another person is saying with your ears, mind, eyes, and body so that person feels valued by you.

Practice love. Consistently choose to do something that is beneficial, kind, and encouraging for another person before considering your own needs. Be willing to be inconvenienced and to sacrifice for the sake of others.

Practice thankfulness. Decide to be grateful to God in any situation - even when facing challenges.  Believe that God is greater than any circumstances you face.

Practice faith. Choose to trust God and believe what He said in His Word, the Bible - no matter what.

Practice motivation. Believe that all things are possible with God, and put all your resources (time, money, energy, etc.) to good use to fulfill your highest potential in His kingdom. Through your example, encourage other people to be and do their best.

Practice handling criticism effectively. Respond to criticism with love, truth, and humility. Demonstrate God's love and allow Him to be your defense.

Practice making family a priority. Consistently choose to put your family and their needs ahead of your own needs, other people, work, recreation, or anything else in life except God.

Practice obedience. Decide to act on God's will rather than your own. Strive to discover God's will by reading the Bible and following the Holy Spirit's leading when there is no clear word in Scripture about what to do.

Practice honoring the government. View the government as a God-ordained institution that should be supported voluntarily through good citizens obeying its laws.

Practice asking questions. Ask certain things in order to gain knowledge and understanding. Try to ask open-ended questions as often as possible.

Practice having fun. Enjoy life. Give yourself permission not to take things seriously all the time. Make laughter part of your daily routine.

Practice living by the truth. Consistently decide to say what is right, do what is right, and live within God's will.

Practice resting. Relax your body on a regular basis through the right amount of sleep at night and periodic breaks during the day.

Practice acting like a man. If you're male - like Jesus - strive to be physically strong, emotionally caring, mentally expanding, and spiritually growing.

Practice esteeming women. Choose to treat all women, at all times, with the utmost dignity and respect they deserve.

Practice giving. Embrace a lifestyle of offering yourself and your resources (time, money, etc.) on behalf of others in the name of Jesus.

Practice kindness. Be sensitive, understanding, gentle, and compassionate to everyone you meet.

Practice fitness. Take care of your body through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Practice keeping your word. Do what you say you will do. Let others know they can count on you to follow through with what you promise.

Practice fellowshipping. Spend time with other Christians on a regular basis for the purpose of enjoyment.

Practice using Scripture. Study and apply the Bible to everyday life situations, whether temptations, trials, or triumphs.

Practice living for a purpose. Realize that serving God is your reason for living. Strive to fulfill your purpose of making a positive difference for Him in the world.

Practice fasting. Choose to go without food for a specific time in order to seek God and His will with more passion and intensity than you could otherwise.

Practice using money God's way. Use your money to support God's kingdom, meet your needs and those of your family, and save for the future. Follow biblical principles when making decisions about money.

Adapted from The Jesus Habits: Exercising the Spiritual Disciplines of Jesus copyright 2005 by Jay Dennis. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tn.,   

Jay Dennis is senior pastor of the 6,500-member First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. A popular conference and seminar speaker, Dr. Dennis' previous books include The Prayer Experiment, Taming Your Private Thoughts and the Broadman & Holman book Dangerous Intersections.