7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 7)

I hope you’re growing as we discuss Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  So far we talked about tithing, biblical knowledge, forgiveness, prayer, worldview, counted the cost.  Lets look at one more habit.

7. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Repentance.  I saw a sign that said, “ A true Christian desires to be free from sin, not to sin freely.”  We must turn away from our sinful behavior and turn back to our loving God.

Let’s clarify one other thing. Don’t think you can just keep on sinning and there aren’t any consequences. For instance, you slept with someone other than your spouse. He doesn’t know and you’re not telling.

  • Your pregnancy or STD might be a result.
  • Your separation from him might be a result.
  • The loss of respect from your children might be a result.
  • His lack of trust in you might be a result.

I get it. You’re saying, “I won’t tell him.” God still knows!

Okay, you didn’t sleep with him or her but you thought about it. What did Jesus say, (Matt 5:28) “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”   Ladies, the same thing applies to you. If you look at a man or woman with lust…

We must turn from the sin and turn towards God.  A momentary pleasure isn’t worth it.

Let your brothers and sisters help you. Do be like the guy dressed in a suit and was drowning. He didn’t want to look bad so he simply raised his hand hoping someone would save him. He drowned because of his unwillingness to shout out for help.  If you’re struggling with a sin, shout it out.  Yell out and let us rally around you. We’re one body! Ps 56:3.  Most importantly, share your burden with God.  He’ll never leave you nor forsake you.

As we close out this series we need to remember a few things.  You are the key to Christianity in your circle of influence. Many people will see how Christianity by your actions. They’ll understand Christianity by the way you approach and deal with contemporary issues of the day.

You can’t be a Secret Agent Christian. You have to pick a side. If you’re a part-time Christian then you’re a full-time poser. You’re one or the other.

What did Jesus tell the devil? “It is written, ‘you shall not put The Lord your God to the test.” In other words, “Don’t push it.” God is forgiving but He isn’t forgetful. Don’t be hardheaded like the children of Israel.   If we are disciples or followers of Christ then we must act like Him.

Now that you know this information you are now responsible for executing it.   You can’t say you didn’t know. You do know.   There’s a great chance that you will make some mistakes. The good news is that your Lord and Savior, the God of this universe is loving and forgiving.

Look at yourself. Are you exhibiting any or all of these 7 habits?

  1. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Tithing
  2. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is biblical knowledge.
  3. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is forgiveness.
  4. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Prayer.
  5. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is a Christ Worldview.
  6. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is that they know there is a cost involved in being a believer.
  7. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Repentance.

f not, now is the time to start. Change your life, change your legacy! Read, study and do His word!  Are you like me? Do you understand that now that we’re Christians we are conquerors? We are in a fight against evil in our lives and the world.

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 6)

I hope you’re growing as we discuss Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  So far we talked about tithing, biblical knowledge, forgiveness, prayer and worldview.  Lets look at one more habit.

6. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is that they know there is a cost involved in being a believer.

Don’t be mistaken and believe this will not cause any problems. Lets just highlight a few things.

You should, no you must be different from unbelievers. As such, there will be some friction. You might be irritating to your closest friends and family. They won’t understand what you are doing and why you are acting a new way. Does this mean you should change? No you do not change for them. You change to be like Him.

  1. The way you talk should be different.
  2. The way you think should be different.
  3. The things you listen to should be different.
  4. Do you look at the same TV shows?
  5. Do you listen to the same music?
  6. What about the places they go?
  7. What about your conversation?

There must be a noticeable change. You can enjoy TV and everything else. Yet your selection should change.

I knew I was changing when I didn’t mind hearing Gospel music in my car. I had a bad system. It was rocking. I played Snoop, Cube, Biggie, Tupac and others in my car before and after church. One day my wife had the nerve to put in a Gospel tape. Yes, I said tapes.  I was heated. I wasn’t sure this relationship was going to work. She dared to change what I had on my system. I listened to the music and it was pretty decent. It was a bit strange since it didn’t talk about sex or have any profanity in it. Within time the Gangsta music was replaced by Gospel music.

This isn’t an either or proposition. We must do it with everything.

I was talking to some about their selection of TV shows. The person became upset with me when I said “You look at a lot of questionable things that are contrary to our Christian lifestyle.” I wasn’t inferring the person wasn’t a Christian. I couldn’t figure out why this person would devote so much time in things that disagree with our life style.  The person felt the need to defend themselves. The person went on to tell me that she spent time doing morning devotionals.

I responded, “Are you reading and living out the things you read in the bible?” It’s a simple and straightforward question. It’s either “yes” or “no.” I wasn’t judging the person but since the opened the door I figured I’d ask. Several months later I told my wife about incident.  She stated that you could only give what they can handle. Some people simply can’t accept things.  The cost for that person was reducing and eliminating contrary readings from their life.  It appeared the cost might have been too much for that person.

My granddaughter ate some food and it really messed up her digestive system. She was eating something that was good but her body couldn’t handle it. Some of us are like that. We can’t or don’t want to handle the good food…the Gospel.

As a minister I’m responsible to help equip you to do the work of the ministry of Christ. I have a responsibility to make sure the sermons and teachings are theologically sound and understandable. I must show you how great God is and leave out the “You’ll be a great Christian if you act or think like Yves” type of things. I don’t have a heaven or hell to give you. I can, however, lead you to the one Who does.

Your job is similar to mine. We’re compasses that lead everyone we know to the true North. Jesus.  The cost is that we must change some things.  The cost comes with a great benefit.  The benefit of being with Him for eternity.  Have you counted the cost?  Have you changed?  Is there a discernible difference between who you were prior to your life in Christ?

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 5)

I hope you’re growing as we discuss Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  So far we talked about tithing, biblical knowledge, forgiveness, and prayer.

5. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is a Christ Worldview. A what? This is a term used to show that we base what we do through a Christian lens.

Here’s a quick definition of worldview. We view the world from a Christian biblical viewpoint. In other words, we filter things through “WWJD.”

Lets look at a few common examples.

  • If we’re asked is it okay to steal, we go by what the bible says. (pretty black and white)
  • If we’re asked is homosexuality is fine, we go by what the bible says. (Hmm, it’s getting a little gray)
  • If we’re asked about abortion, giving money to the poor, cursing someone out, being a good worker, a good daughter, husband and everything else.

I think you get the point.  We must live our life through biblical life principles and we speak on and act on things from a biblical Christian worldview point.  Our worldview should change.

Remember, we must get our doctrine…the way we live and our beliefs from the bible, not from the tradition of men. (Col 2:8). For example, wearing Black and White on the First Sunday.   Jesus says, “You are the light of the world (Matt 5:14-16).”

We must show people the light of Christ. They’re just like you and I used to be. We didn’t know that many of the things we were doing was wrong.   We need to help guide the lost toward the Light of the World, the bright and Morning Star.

We don’t say, “The bible says, “XYZ but I think I still can do it.”

What does Jeremiah tells us? God is talking to Jeremiah about false “oracles” and false prophets. In Jer 23:36, He says, “because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty our God.”  God told Jeremiah that He was going to punish them since they changed His word and simply lied at other times about what God did and didn’t say.  The false prophets simply led the people astray.  They didn’t want to give them a dose of reality.  Instead they wanted to just give them good news.  As a side note, if you hear a preacher of the Gospel who doesn’t talk about the struggles and stresses of Christianity…be on guard.  The bible is laced with great men and women of God who had struggles.

We can’t change God’s word to fit our view.  Rather we must change our views to fit His views.  I’m certain you know of some people who have changed what God word says and means in order to accommodate a sin.  We don’t love people less when we point out their sin.  In fact, we love them more.  I saw a great sign that said, “Friends don’t let friends go to hell.”  Lets help advance the Kingdom by staying true to the word and sharing the word with others.

As we talk about this subject we must realize our biblical worldview will be different from the unbeliever.  Consequentially, this will cause some strife in our lives.  Go back and review the other habits.  You’ll realize we will be “different” from those professing Christianity if we follow through on them.  The Apostle Paul called us a “Peculiar people.”  It’s okay to be peculiar.  Let the bible drive how you view issues of today, not vise versa.

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 4)

I hope you’ve stayed with me so far.  We’re now on a fourth Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  So far we talked about tithing, biblical knowledge, and forgiveness.  Lets talk about a fourth habit.

4. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Prayer.  Do you know how to pray?  Do you want me to give you the super secret way to pray to God? Do you want the easy or the hard way? Say, “Lord I just want to say XYZ. Lord I thank You for XYZ. Lord bless XYZ who just lost XXX. God, protect XYZ.” Got it?

Jesus gave us a way to pray. Do you know the Lord’s prayer? Let’s say it.   WAIT! That’s not it. He didn’t say we had to pray what we have termed, “The Lord’s Prayer.” Give me some feedback on this one.  I bet you started to recite “Our Father…” Come on admit it.  Jesus gave that to us as a guide that we can use. He didn’t say you had to say those exact words and then you’re finished with prayer.

When was the last time you prayed? Prayer isn’t a list of “Give me’s.” You will build your relationship with Him more as you pray. You’ll also begin to feel less like asking for things and start wanting to do things for Him and others.

Read John 17. You’ll see how Jesus prayed. Notice the passion and love.

Spend a little time in prayer with our Father.  Stay connected to Him.

Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer ~ J.C. Ryle

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 3)

Welcome back. Lets now look at another habit as we continue our talk on Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  So far we talked about tithing and biblical knowledge.  Now lets move to another habit.

3.  A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is forgiveness.

  • Does your mom, dad or spouse ever get on your nerve?
  • Do you have a friend of family member you haven’t talked to in a long while?
  • Do you have someone that gets on your nerve?

Jesus told Peter, in one sense, to continue to forgive those who mistreated you. Jesus was an excellent example of forgiveness.

We have to forgive them. My wife irritates me by some of the things she does. I irritate her also. Some times I don’t want to be around her. Should I let the things that irritate me be a stumbling block that prevents us from being the Christian we must be? Of course not.

The Apostle James tells us we can be angry but we can’t sin.   Jesus tells us that we are committing murder when we angry and say bad things to our brother while we’re mad (Matt 5:21-22).

Let’s get our mind right and think like Him!  First Thess 5:22 tells us that we need to abstain from all appearance of evil.  Unforgiveness doesn’t look good on a Christian.

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 2)

Welcome back. Lets now look at another habit as we continue our talk on Distinguishing Habits of a Believer.  Yesterday we talked about tithing.  Now lets move to another habit.

2. A distinguishing habit of a Believer is biblical knowledge.  Are you studying? Do you even read your bible? If not, how can you effectively talk about something you don’t know.

I know a few things. Yet, I can’t talk about Orbital Mechanics. I can speak on a few facts but that’s it. I can’t talk about it in-depth. I only have a familiarization with this subject.

We often hear “Thank God for Grace!” “Thank God for Mercy!” What does that mean?   Does the devil have horns? Is he dressed in red? Do a little research. Could it be possible that the “devil” we see was developed by an ad agency? Hmm, do a little research and let me know. We need to know about the devil. He doesn’t look like anything you think he does.

The pictures you see on TV are nowhere near how the bible describes him. In fact, the same can be said about angels also! We need to get smarter.

I encourage you to ask 5 people to give you descriptions of the devil. Write them down and see if it’s biblically true.

Ask them to give you facts about God. You’re going to get the same answers. They’ll be vague. Write them down and see if it’s biblically true.

You’ll see that, in general, people will be quick to give you info on the devil. They think they know him and what he is about. I’m certain they’ll be wrong.

I saw this message on Facebook. “Our ignorance is one of Satan’s greatest and easiest ways to defeat us.”

It’s funny how people can believe in hell and Satan but not God. They’ll argue you about the existence of God but not the devil. God created the devil!   Heck, people will argue over the existence of aliens and Bigfoot but will reject talk about God.

According to Presenttruth.com, Anton LaVey, the Founder of the Church of Satan, said, “I’m glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year.” He’s talking about Halloween. What does Halloween represent? I’m certain you know a lot of parents that send their kids out on Halloween. The rationale will be, “They’re just kids.” That’s a lame excuse. What does 2 Thes 2:11 tell us? “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe in a lie.”

Today we touched upon a few issues concerning biblical knowledge. Obviously, these aren’t the only ones we need to be aware of. However, could you adequately explain grace, mercy, love or Halloween? If not, I encourage you to read on these subjects over the next few weeks. You’ll be amazed as you gain more knowledge. I challenge and encourage you to share your knowledge with others. Remember we are the “Light of the world.”

Solo Scriptura


7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 1)

I grew up catholic and a phrase always intrigued me. I used to hear people say, “I’m a Catholic but not a practicing one.” I never really understood that until later in life. They were saying that they believed in Catholism but don’t live it. In other words, they weren’t committed.

People believe in their Horoscope. Is that what God says you should do? It’s clear in the bible how He feels about people following the horoscope. I talked to a woman about this and she “matter-of-factly” told me why it was good. I asked her how she could say she believe in the bible, know what it says but still do what she wanted. The conversation didn’t go as well as I had expected. I thought as believers we could discuss issues without being offended. Please understand I ask questions because I’m intrigued and wonder why we do the things we do.

What distinguishes you from unbelievers or those professing Christianity?

  • Do you look at the same TV shows?
  • Do you listen to the same music?
  • What about the places they go?
  • What about your conversation?

A believer shows a lot of characteristics that distinguish them as faithful followers of Christ. We’ll talk briefly about a few of them. This list isn’t exhaustive but it will give you idea on the differences. The feedback that I get from the blog is that many readers want short articles. So, I’ll give you a different habit each day for a week. When we finish, I’ll consolidate everything into one blog you can link to, if you’d like. These habits aren’t in any particular order. Ready, let’s go.

1. A Distinguishing Habit of a Believer is Tithing. Do you tithe? I must admit that I didn’t tithe for a long time. You might be thinking, “I just don’t get it. Why give up my money?  After all, I always hear about preachers stealing money.”

But is that your real reason for not tithing? If we are to be followers of Christ we must “follow” Him. He believed in tithing, why don’t you. Once you give “your” money to God it is no longer yours (well, it never really was yours…God let you have it). If anyone does anything wrong with it they will have to answer to God.

I need to stop making excuses and give money to God. Why? So His kingdom work here on earth can be spread. “Thy Kingdom comes. They will be done on Earth.” Start trusting in Him instead of the minister.

I tell you the truth. Knowledge is power. Live by the truth and not what someone who hasn’t investigated or even studied tells you. That’s the blind leading the blind.

Tithing is simple. You give 10% of your earnings to God. Well, it’s a little more to this but we’re going on the simple method right not. Let not quibble about is it net or gross.

Let’s say that you’re not tithing. How can you overcome this hurdle? I have two surefire ways for you to make a change in your life concerning this issue.

a. Read on tithing. I can guarantee you that you don’t know the significance of tithing because you haven’t studied it. It will not be what you think it is. In fact, you’ll see how you’re even more connected to God once you start tithing. You’ll find it’s about obedience rather than your money. Remember, He owns the world. If He can destroy the Earth with a thought, don’t believe the little money we give means that much in the big scheme of things. Remember, your worldview isn’t going to be like non-believers. They look for ways to be disobedient not obedient to His commands.

b. You say you can’t give 10%, start with 1%.

I needed the money and on the other times I just didn’t want to give.   If I gave the money then I would bounce a check or two. I tell you the truth.   Once I started tithing, it seemed like I started having more money. I don’t want you to confuse this as a “Name it and claim” gimmick. I don’t want you to confuse this with “If you give God His money then He’ll bless you 10-fold” trick. I’m just speaking the truth. My life changed dramatically.

I don’t know what math God was using but I stopped living paycheck-to-paycheck.   Come to your leadership team and let us help you understand in better so that you receive all the blessings God has for you. He still loves you nevertheless.   However, you’re holding back your blessings.

I’ve always found it amusing that people want to get blessings from God but don’t want to be obedient to Him rules.

My brother and sister, are you tithing? Take time this week and learn more about tithing. Please don’t let your relationship with our Father suffer because of some bad theology and misinformation you’ve received over the years. Trust His word and do what it says. It’ll make a world of a difference for eternity.

Solo Scriptura