Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress. 1 Timothy 4:15 (GW)
While you were given a brand new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits, patterns, and practices that need to be removed and replaced.
Let go of the fears that keep you from growing -- The truth will set us free but it often makes us miserable first. The fear of what we might discover if we honestly faced our character defects keeps us living in the prison of denial. Only as God is allowed to shine the light of his truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to work on them. This is why you cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude.
Stop basing your identity around your 'defects' -- We say, "It's just like me to be ..." and "It's just the way I am." The unconscious worry is that if I let go of my habit, my hurt, or my hang-up, who will I be? This fear can definitely slow down your growth.
As I wrote yesterday, good habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can't claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind—you show kindness without even thinking about it. You can't claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest. A husband who is faithful to his wife most of the time is not faithful at all! Your habits define your character.
There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: You must practice them—and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, "Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress." (1 Timothy 4:15 GW)
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Rick Warren is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," now available in paperback from Saddleback Resources.