Seven Habits of Highly Effective Christians

KEYS TO SUCCESS IN LIFE

SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CHRISTIANS

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)      INTRODUCTION – STEVEN COVEY, NOTED MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND AUTHOR WROTE A BOOK ENTITLED SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE.   mr covey claims to be a christian and i have no reason to doubt this.  I WOULD LIKE TO APPLY THESE 7 HABITS TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND LIFE IN GENERAL.  WE WILL SHOW HOW JESUS MODELED THESE HABITS AND HOW FORMING THESE HABITS HELP US TO MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE IN OUR christian life and christian service.   A HABIT IS A PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR THAT MAY BE DEVELOPED BY REPETITION, COMPULSION, ADDICTION, WILL OR LACK OF WILL.  A HABIT CAN BE GOOD OR BAD.  IN THIS CONTEXT WE ARE SPEAKING OF GOOD HABITS THAT ARE DEVELOPED OVER TIME THROUGH OUR WILL WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE spirit of GOD WORKING IN OUR LIVES to produce his intended results.  text:  phil 2:3-15 nkjv

II)     habit#1: BE PROACTIVE (TAKE INITIATIVE/accept RESPONSIBILITY for your life)

A)     “TAKING THE INITIATIVE DOES NOT MEAN BEING PUSHY, OBNOXIOUS OR AGGRESSIVE.  IT MEANs RECOGNIZING OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO partner with god.

B)    it means not blaming others but taking responsibility for our mistakes & FAILURES, asking for god’s forgiveness & help.

C)    if god has given you a dream, it is o.k. to ask for god’s help, but you still need to do your part.   so much of this is a matter of focus and self discipline.

D)    GOD TOOK THE INITIATIVE TOWARD US; HE SENT HIS SON JESUS TO EARTH TO FULFILL HIS REDEMPTIVE PLAN & purposes but our involvement in his plan is entirely voluntary.

E)    THE APOSTLE PAUL DECLARED “HIS GRACE TO ME WAS NOT IN VAIN…” (1cor 15:10)

F)     PHIL 2:12:  “work out our own salvation with fear & trembling…”

G)    you are never too old or too young: JESUS 12 YEARS OLD, ALREADY ABOUT HIS FATHER’S BUSINESS”, moses was 80 years old when god began to use him.

III)    habit#2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND (don’t lose sight of the goal)

A)    SC: (ILLUSTRATION OF ATTENDING YOUR OWN FUNERAL: WHAT YOU WANT YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES TO SAY ABOUT YOU when you are gone?

B)    WE WANT TO HEAR JESUS SAY “WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT…”

C)    SC: “TO BEGIN WITH END IN MIND MEANS TO START WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR DESTINATION…”; “HE THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM PURIFIETH HIMSELF…”

D)    SC: “IT’S EASY TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE ACTIVITY TRAP, IN THE BUSyNESS OF LIFE, TO WORK HARDER AND HARDER AT CLIMBING THE LADDER OF SUCCESS ONLY TO DISCOVER IT’S LEANING AGAINST THE WRONG WALL.”  remember what jesus said to martha “mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her…”

E)    ALL THINGS ARE CREATED TWICE (1ST IN VISION THEN IN practice): wether it is starting a business, entering a profession, REARING CHILDREN or pursuing ministry.

F)     “without a vision the people perish..”.  IMPORTANCE OF CORE VALUES & PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT (PP 106)

G)    (WHAT ARE YOU CENTERED ON (PP 119 – 120)) SC TALKS ABOUT BEING PRINCIPLE CENTERED.  the principles given in the bible work for christians and non- christians alike.   “THY WORD IS A LAMP ONTO MY FEET A LIGHT ONTO MY PATHWAY…”

H)    JESUS KNEW WHO HE WAS AND WHAT HE CAME FOR…he came to reveal god’s love and forgivness, in the end he came to DIE for our sins…THAT THOUGH HIS DEATH WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE and life more abundantly.  (matt 26:2, Jn 18:11)

I)      PAUL: I HAVE RUN THE RACE, I HAVE FINISHED THE COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH

IV)   habit#3: PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST (YOUR PRIORITIES SHOULD SUPPORT YOUR GOALS)

A)    SC: SPEAKS OF PRINCIPLES OF PERSONAL MANAGEMENT – exercizing  SELF-DISCIPLINE; THE BIBLES SPEAKS OF OUR JUDGING OUR SELVES SO THAT WE NEED NOT BE JUDGED.

B)    FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:  GENTLENESS, MEEKNESS, KINDNESS AND GOODNESS LEAD TO PATIENCE, SELF-DISCIPLINE.

C)    IN THE WILDERNESS TEMPTATION SATAN TRIED SIDE TRACK JESUS: to sacrifice his purpose for coming for his immediate physical needs, to demand his legitimate rights or a take short cut to ruling the kingdoms of this world.

D)    JUDAS EXPECTED JESUS TO OVER THROW ROMAN RULE

E)    JAMES & JOHN’S MOTHER WANTED THEM TO SIT ON HIS LEFT & RIGHT

F)     PAUL: I AM DETERMINED TO KNOW NOTHING BUT CHRIST CRUCIFIED

G)    PAUL: I COUNT EVERYTHING AS DUNG THAT I MAY KNOW HIM. (phil 3:8)

V)    habit #4: THINK WIN – WIN  (WE WIN OR LOSE TOGETHER)

A)    you do not find real success in life walking on the backs of others.

B)     “CHARACTER IS THE FOUNDATION OF WIN WIN.”  THE GOLDEN RULE: DO ONTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO ONTO YOU.  (paraphrase of matt 7:12)

C)    GOD WANTS US TO LOSE THAT INDEPENDENT SPIRIT, RECOGNIZING THAT WE ARE DEPENDENT UPON HIM AND INTERDEPENDENT UPON OTHERS.

D)    GOD CHARACTER, DEMONSTRATED HIS LOVE FOR US THAT” WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS CHRIST DIED FOR US.

E)    WE LIVE IN A CULTURE THAT HAS SAID THAT CHARACTER DOESN’T MATTER, ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHETHER THAT PERSON CAN DO THE JOB.

F)     WE HAVE FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY THAT CHARACTER DOES MATTER.  THE ECONOMIC MESS THAT OUR COUNTRY IS IN IS A DIRECT RESULT OF A LACK OF CHARACTER IN government and CORPORATE AMERICA

G)    CHARACTER IS THE BASIS FOR SOLID, MEANINGFU, lasting RELATIONSHIPS; SOLID RELATIONSHIPS LEAD TO UNDERSTANDING & MEANINGFUL, lasting AGREEMENTS.”

H)    IF WE CAN’T KEEP OUR COMMITMENTS TO GOD, TO OTHERS AND OURSELVES OUR COMMITMENTS BECOMe MEANINGLESS and people do not take us seriously.

I)      JESUS CALLED HIS DISCIPLES AND INVESTED HIMSELF IN THEM; HE NEVER MANIPULATED THEM OR DECEIVED THEM…HE TOLD THEM up front THAT IF THEY WANTED TO BE HIS DISCIPLES IT WOULD COST THEM EVERYTHING…

J)     JESUS SPOKE OF HIS FATHER AND BECOMING OUR FATHER, AND HIS GOD AND OUR  GOD.  NOW THAT’S A TEAM!  HIS WIN HAS MADE US WINNERS!  we are seated in heavenly places in christ jesus.

K)    WE ARE TO SHARE THIS  “WIN” WITH OTHERS, HE IS NOT EXCLUSIVE but inclusive.

VI)   HABIT#5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

A)    GOD GAVE US TWO EARS & ONLY ONE MOUTH.  WE SHOULD LISTEN TWICE AS MUCH AS WE TALK!  OFTEN WE DON’T REALLY LISTEN TO OTHERS, BUT ARE FORMULATING OUR RESPONSE TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING BEFORE WE HAVE REALLY LISTENED TO THEM.

B)    WE HAVE SUCH A TENDENCY TO RUSH IN AND TRY TO FIX THINGS IN OTHER PEOPLES LIVES WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE SITUATION.  SOMETIMES ALL THEY NEED IS SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO THEM.

C)    LEARN TO LISTEN EMPHATICALLY…in doing so we are MAKING DEPOSITS IN the EMOTIONAL BANK ACCOUNT of others.

D)    PEOPLE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW THAT YOU CARE

E)    JESUS KNEW WHAT WAS IN THEIR HEARTS YET HE DIED FOR THEM ANYWAY

F)     WE NEED TO FIRST UNDERSTAND GOD REDEMPTIVE PLAN and the sufficiency of his grace FOR EVERY PERSON AND EVERY SITUATION.

G)    IT IS A MISTAKE TO RUSH TO JUDGEMENT OR TO THINK WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS BEFORE WE HAVE PRAYED ABOUT IT; GOD’S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS…HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS… (isa 55:8-9)

VII)  HABIT #6: SYNERGIZE  (THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS)

A)    SC: THE ESSENCE OF SYNERGY IS TO VALUE the DIFFERENCES of others- TO recognize their unique gifts and talents, to RESPECT THEM, to work together allowing their strengths tO COMPENSATE FOR OUR WEAKNESSES.

B)    most companies have executives, administrators, accounting people, finance people, managers, supervisors, maintenance people, secretaries, security personnel and specialists:  engineers, computer specialists and workers.  everyone is essential.

C)    THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST – think about the human body – the various systems that work together so magnificantly:  our circulatory system, our skeletal system, our brain and nervous system, our immune system, our digestive system, our respriatory system, our lymph system.  which one could you do without? (1COR 12:14-18)

D)    JESUS INVESTED HIMSELF IN 12 DISCIPLES WHO WOULD filled with the spirit, EMPOWERED TO CARRY ON HIS WORK, fulfilling their calling and destiny.

VIII) HABIT #7:  SHARPEN THE SWORD by applying GOD’S WORD

A)     have you ever watched someone TRYING TO CUT DOWN THE TREE WITH DULL AX (or dull saw) – they think that they don’t have time to sharpen it.

B)    JESUS renewed HIMSELF BY SPENDING TIME WITH THE FATHER

C)    we must abide in the vine (john 15) if we abide in him and his word abides in us we will be FRUITFUL.  WE DO NOT BECOME FRUITFUL BY JUST TRYING HARDER; we just get frustrated.

D)    WE NURTURE OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE BY SPENDING TIME IN THE WORD & IN PRAYER & HEARing FROM GOD.   god speaks to us through his word, through others, through circumstances, through that inward voice; SOMETIMES he speaks to us verbally and audibly.

IX)   CONCLUSION – i believe that the lord is gently speaking to us today to help us to get on course.   to shows us that our commitment to him has faltered.   where we have not taken responsibility and are still blaming others, where we have lost sight of the goal, where our priorities are not right, where we are still arguing with him, where we areseeking to be understood rather than prayerfully seeking to understand, where we are still selfish and self centered – still thinking that its about us, where we are devaluing the body of christ, still focusing on the flaws of others, rather than loving them and encouraging  them  and praying for them, where we have failed to sharpen our ax, by spending time with the lord in prayer and meditating on his word!  let’s start listening to him by developing these seven habits that will help us achieve god’s purpose for our lives!

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