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An Everyday Faith

May 15, 20243 min read

If you’re interested in personal development or self-improvement, you’re probably familiar with James Clear’s best-selling book “Atomic Habits.” It’s been translated into over 50 languages and sold more than eight million copies worldwide since its release in late 2018. Interestingly enough, as my longtime friend and fellow Proven Results team member David Grimm recently wrote on his own blog, there’s actually an important truth we can learn about putting our faith in action as we read Clear’s book even if his language doesn’t explicitly make this clear.

One of the most insightful takeaways from Atomic Habits is the idea that we don’t rise to the level of our goals, but we fall to the level of our systems. In other words, we don’t achieve success simply by having a vision for what could become possible - we must be willing to put in the necessary effort and take the daily steps to make our dreams, plans, and goals a reality.

Another key principle from Clear’s book is the idea that transformation happens not because of simple behavior modification, but because of how we perceive our identity. In Chapter Two, we read a hypothetical story about two people who are trying to quit smoking. Both are offered a cigarette, and both have different reasons for refusing. The first person declines, saying that they are trying to quit smoking. The second person refuses because they are not a smoker. Which person do you think will ultimately be more successful in their efforts to quit smoking - the one who still associates their identity with that of a smoker or the person who no longer believes that this behavior is a part of who they are?

Both of these ideas are relevant as we conclude our Agents of Light series today. As has been our custom over the last several weeks, let’s take a look at the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

You’ll notice three powerful, identity-based statements in the three verses above:

  • “You are the temple of the living God.”

  • “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

  • “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters.”

Each of these truths was first spoken by God Himself. In fact, God includes himself, to a degree, in each one. God’s involvement is more explicit in the last two statements (“I will be their God” and “I will be a Father to you,”) but God also includes himself in the first idea by calling His people His temple. By making this claim, God is announcing his intentions to live among his people, although He previously made His earthly home inside physical buildings such as the Jerusalem Temple.

I feel incredibly encouraged and empowered when I remember how God sees you and me in this way. I’m also challenged by the reminder of the standard we must all uphold in our lives. We aren’t just living for our own pleasure or personal gain - we are God’s beloved children and agents in the world. 

The best way for us to fulfill this calling from God is not simply to make it a goal or an aspiration, but to live it out as a daily pursuit. We don’t rise to the level of our goals, but we fall to the level of our systems. What do our systems say about our desire to live righteous, God-honoring lives?

As always, you can bring this material into your sessions with your mentor whenever it’s helpful. If you’re not currently meeting with a mentor but would like more information, use this link to schedule a free discovery call

Shawn Lyons was called to ministry 48 years ago as a 12-year-old boy. He serves at the Harvest Church in Derry, PA, where his ministry has reached over 90 countries and 48 of the 50 US states. He is passionate about preaching and teaching the word of God and serving in the church alongside Susan. Together, they have three children and two grandson. When he’s not serving in the church or spending time with his family, he enjoys golfing.

Shawn Lyons

Shawn Lyons was called to ministry 48 years ago as a 12-year-old boy. He serves at the Harvest Church in Derry, PA, where his ministry has reached over 90 countries and 48 of the 50 US states. He is passionate about preaching and teaching the word of God and serving in the church alongside Susan. Together, they have three children and two grandson. When he’s not serving in the church or spending time with his family, he enjoys golfing.

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