As a child, exceling as a student did not come naturally to me. Playing sports did, but only baseball was easy and natural. If I wanted to get better, habitually practicing was my goal. I spent most of my free time playing ball outside, hitting tennis balls against the side of our house and playing the course golf course that I created in my backyard. Unfortunately, I wasn’t gifted with great size or strength, so I learned to be gritty, willing myself to get better and enhance my skills daily.
But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]. 8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts], 1 John 1:7-8.
When I became a Christian at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event in the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I began to apply these same principles to my faith. I started a Bible Study at my house, even though I didn’t know what I was doing. My drive to become a better Christian led me to join a weekly accountability group, attend a Methodist youth group religiously every Sunday night and pursue opportunities for monthly retreats. By my senior year, I was appointed the Program Director for my FCA huddle meetings at Concord High School.
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action], 1 John 1:9.
Yet, this is not what a habitual faith resembles. During a Christian retreat in college, pastor Tommy Nelson introduced me to “Spit Baths.” Pastor Nelson was referring to Christians who schedule time with God daily, but their Bible Study and prayer times are short and meaningless. This message has stuck with me over the years, urging me to dig deeper into God’s Word and pour out my heart to God in prayer. Genuine habitual faith occurs when believers naturally keep in step with the Holy Spirit, daily sharing with others what God is teaching you about the Bible and how it applies to life. May this blog inspire you to pursue a habitual faith.
by Jay Mankus