I Quit …
One of our values as a church is to invite all into a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. What we mean is that knowing Jesus leads to deep, permanent, dramatic, but slow, change in your character.
So much has been written about change of late specifically in the category of personal habits. I just finished reading two books on habits, Habit Stacking, and Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. The basic premise of both books is that small, manageable commitments to small seemingly insignificant changes can accumulate over time into quantum leaps of productivity, efficiency, and success.
The early church fathers talked about some of the same things but they were not after success. They were after holiness. They believed that a change in your habits starts with quitting. To be more specific what you quit is the activity you are going to replace with the new habit. While this may sound like a new teaching it’s actually a very old one. The Bible calls this first step repentance. We quit committing the sin the Holy Spirit has convicted us of and replace that sin with righteousness, a righteous act, or the same act done with a different intention or heart depending on the circumstances.
What is missing from secular books about habits and from the world that is trying to change ourselves into holy people without God is impossible. But God has designed us to be in a loving relationship with him, and designed us for holiness. While lasting change may be able to be wrought by simply forming habits, without the spirit of God the new habit will ultimately be self-serving, selfish, and egocentric -- not attributes that move us closer to holiness.
Starting our transformation with the confessional statement, “I quit!” Is a clarion call to our soul to stop doing, thinking, feeling, or neglecting to do, think, or feel what we know God has required of us. It is a call to mindful living, humble submission, holy surrender, and fearless examination.
So what does Grand Avenue do to help you quit? It is our upcoming series beginning Sunday, May 28. We will have a three week series titled “I Quit.” I quit complaining. I quit comparing. I quit hurrying. Once we repent of that activity we need to quit, we can then ask God to flood our lives with mindful, soulful activities that John Wesley referred to as “holy habits,” “means of grace,” “disciplines of the Spirit.
We also study the Bible with an eye towards transformation. When you’re in a Bible study it is not unusual to be asked about your life and if you need to change it. If you need to change it how should you cooperate with the spirit of God to change it? To study the Bible this way is to open ourselves to the powerful hand of God to sculpt and shape our character. We just don’t ask, “What does this passage mean? which is a good question, but also we ask, “How can this change me?”
We also work with at-risk kids because they do not think they can change. They feel trapped in a cycle of pain, failure, discouragement, and desperation. They need to know they can change. They need to know that there is a God who loves them and has a life in store for them that allow them to change, gives them the power to change, the love the change, the plan to change. While we use the term “Universal Principles,” it is a veiled reference to the Gospel.
The next upcoming sermon series will offer a wonderful place for you to invite a friend who needs to qit something. You can help someone take the next steps of faith as they move to quit something harmful for them. In the place of those things we lay aside we create space for other work of God, for a renovation of the spirit, the heart, and the soul. Your life will grow stacks of holy habits that form us into a colorful garden of the manifold grace of our glorious God.
I quit! Will you join me?