Man in prayer
Are these habits part of your character? (© Istockphoto; Kryczka)

“So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ” (Col. 1:28 NCV).

The most practical and powerful way to get believers headed in the direction of spiritual maturity is to help them establish habits that promote spiritual growth.

You cannot talk about character without talking about habits. Character is the way you habitually act. For example, if you are honest only part of the time or if you are honest only when you consciously choose to be honest, you cannot claim to have the character quality of integrity.

Having integrity means you are always honest. It is your habit. You don’t even have to think about it. When someone asks you a question or gives you back too much change, you habitually do the honest thing.

Of course, there are dozens of good habits we need to develop as we grow to maturity. But the foundational habits must be learned first in order to grow. So, what are the minimum requirements? What are the core habits that will give birth to all the others?

They are the habits that influence our time, our money and our relationships. If Christ’s lordship is recognized over these three areas of life, then he will truly be in control.

I believe there are five measurements of spiritual growth: knowledge, perspective, conviction, skills and character. Once you understand the what, why, when and how of the five measurements, you can take the next practical steps to starting and maintain habits that will lead to spiritual maturity.

Talk About It

  • What are the three character traits you think people would be most likely to use to describe you?
  • If you did a quick assessment of your life, would you say Christ has control in the areas of your time, money and relationships?

Rick Warren is founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. He is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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