Willingness

willingness [wil-ing-ness] –adjective; cheerfully consenting or ready. readiness

It all starts with willingness; simply willing to be willing.  When we are willing, God is able.  We do not need to approach willingness with huge amounts of enthusiasm.  Sincerely saying yes and deciding to be open to grow and learn – willingness allows us to act.  It is the first step in the process of achievement for all things.  It’s maintaining an attitude of readiness to take action, to change, see things with a new perspective, to forgive, to love, to be honest.  How do we produce willingness in our lives?  We reflect on our life.  We ask ourselves questions like, what do I desire?  What’s good, what’s bad?  What could be better, what could be worse?  We identify what’s missing and what needs improvement.  After this time of reflection we surrender our will to God’s will seeking His guidance, His lead.  This is where willingness begins.

Reflect:
Are you willing to do whatever it takes, in all areas of your life, to become who God created you to be?  If not, what’s holding you back?

What in your life are you unwilling to do, even though you know you must do it?  What steps can you take today to work towards willingness?

Willingness is directly associated with faith.  Do you trust that God is able to do great things in your life if you are willing?  Things beyond your wildest imagination?  Talk with God about your willingness and your trust in Him.

Verses:
2 Corinthians 8:12  ”For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”

Hebrews 13:2  ”Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Quote:
“Where the willingness is great the difficulties cannot be great” - Niccolo Machiavelli

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Learn more –> here Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Love

love [luhv] – noun; unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.  – verb; feeling or showing great care

God is Love.  “We love because He first loved us.”  (1 John 4:19 ESV)  How did He love us?  How much does He love us?  God in His matchless grace and mercy granted us – finite, imperfect, grimy – a chance to love.  He gave us the perfect example and bid us to follow in His footsteps. He loves us with an unfathomable love.  A love like, but far exceeding, a father to his son.  When we get a hold of that truth we are transformed!  We are changed from the inside out when we drink from the overflowing fountain of His love. When we are infused, when we are filled, it is then and only then that we can love as He loved with a passionate, consistent, undying love.  This love isn’t just toward the lovely.  It isn’t a respecter of persons or time.  This love is unmistakably recognizable.  Its countenance will be joyous, its smile will be genuinely ready, and its speech will be timely and edifying.

Reflect:
How has God demonstrated His love for you today?  What have you done to demonstrate your love for Him?

Think of someone in your life whom you find difficult to love.  How would grasping Christ’s love for you change your perspective toward that person?

How can you live in love today? How can you show love to those around you?

Verses:
Ephesians 5:2 “…and walk in love as Christ loved us.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Quote:
“The secret of loving is living loved.” – Max Lucado

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Learn more –> here Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Surrender

sur·ren·der [suh-ren-der] –verb; to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield. Resignation.

All of us are surrendered to something.  What we surrender ourselves to ultimately becomes our god, what we worship, turn to, or rely upon.  Living surrendered is knowing that God IS and we are not.  It’s deciding to lay down our will and our plans daily, sometimes frequently throughout the day, for God’s will to be done and for His plans to manifest in our lives.  You’ve heard the phrases, “Let go, Let God” – “You must die to live,” these statements are powerful and empowering.  When we choose to let go, we daily humble ourselves, renounce our selfish ambition, and seek God’s guidance.  We give up control in all areas of our lives.  Loosening our grip, willing to surrender what we are for what we could become.

Reflect:
What are you surrendered to? Is it something firm, solid and long-lasting, or something that can slip away, burn to ashes, or be swallowed?

What do you need to loosen the grip on in your life?  What are you trying to control that you need to surrender?

What action can you take daily to live surrendered?  What accountability can you invite in your life to make this happen?

Verses:
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Quote:
“Once we surrender our mind to GOD completely, HE will take care of us in every way.” - Sri Sathya Sai Baba

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Teachable

teach·a·ble [tee-chuh-buhl]  –adjective; capable of being instructed, of being taught.

A commitment to learning and growing.  Understanding that with every experience and with every encounter we have an opportunity to learn.  Seeking feedback and advice from others.  Admitting that our knowledge is incomplete.   We all have a choice to embrace this characteristic; a teachable spirit.  We have to choose to be a life-long learner.  There are countless ways for us to learn.  We can learn from our personal experiences, others experiences, books, conversations, sermons, songs, all people, all things.  We learn from asking questions like, “What do you think, what would you suggest?” or “What’s your perspective?” — then we listen and absorb.  Being teachable is truly believing that God is not finished with me yet.  As we grow, as we learn he is shaping us to become more like Him.

Reflect:
Would you consider yourself a student seeking to learn at all times?  If not, what prevents you from being teachable?

It’s easier for us to receive from some, but not from others – how can you remain reachable and be willing to learn from everyone, regardless of who they are?

Seek to learn 3 things each day — what did you learn today?

Verses:
Proverbs 12:1 “If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it— how shortsighted to refuse correction!”

2 Timothy 3:14 “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.”

Quote:
“Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty… acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours.” - James I Packer

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Goodness

goodness [good-nis] – noun; the quality or state of being good

Of all the attributes or characteristics of God, one could think of “goodness” as all-encompassing. It’s being kind, friendly, generous, honest. It’s extending grace and mercy; placing value on others. Everything God does is good. Everything. He created the universe and declared it to be good (Genesis 1:31), the Psalmist expounds on the goodness of God, and we, God’s creation, are to do the same. As His child, we know He is good, but do we really know in our heart of hearts that He is good all the time in everything? We can trust Him with our circumstances, our concerns, our joys, our LIFE!

Reflect:
What are some instances in your life that could only be attributed to a good God. (this could be a long list!)

Where are you right now? Are you finding it easy or difficult to believe in God’s goodness? Why?

What does goodness look like in daily living?  Is there someone who sets an example of goodness in your world?

Verses:
Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good;his steadfast love endures forever,and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 119:68 “You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness.”

Matthew 19:17 “…No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Quote:
“If you can’t see His goodness, you can trust His goodness.”  - Jack Hyles

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Worship

worship [wur-ship] – noun; the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity
– verb; to show reverence and adoration for (a deity); to honor with praise and adoration

Worship. We were created to do it. In fact, that is the WHOLE point of our existence. But we messed it up. All of God’s creation does what it was created to do. Birds fly, fish swim, bees pollinate, flowers grow, the sun shines, …the list goes on and on. All of creation does what it was created to do except us. Nothing rebels,…except us. Man was given a choice – a choice to worship God and fulfill the purpose for which he was created, or deny Him. Unfortunately, man made the choice to deny Him and go against this beautiful plan. We gave up our purpose. God in His great love and mercy decided to give us another chance and sent His one and only Son to die on the cross to pay the debt of sin we owed – the debt that kept us from accomplishing our purpose. He equipped us to WORSHIP again! We again have the choice, and this time, let’s not fight His plan.

Reflect:
Since God created us for the sole purpose of worshiping Him, how important do you think worship should be to us?

Review the last 48 hours of your life.  Based on the definition of worship who or what are you worshiping?

Meditate on who your God is. Exult in His greatness. Take time to praise Him, to thank Him, to WORSHIP Him.

Verses:
Psalm 29:2 “Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…”

John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Quote:
“Worship is simply glorifying God; this means there is nothing required of us that cannot be done as an act of worship.” –John MacArthur

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Self-control

self-con·trol [self-kuhn-trohl] - noun; control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. – willpower

Living this character trait out in some areas of our lives is easier than others.  We’ve each got 6 areas of personal perspective: Relationships, Financial, Health and Wellness, Emotional, Spiritual, Professional.  Within each of these areas there comes thoughts, feelings, and certain attitudes.  We cannot control or change others, only ourselves.  Self-control is strength of character.  Maintaining balance in our lives; stability.  Living consistently and with discipline.  Self-control is daily remembering to accept the things we cannot change and then responding accordingly with ourselves and with those in our lives.

Reflect:
What areas of your life could use more of this character trait?

What accountability methods can you invite into your life that could help you develop this trait?

How can you renew your mind to quickly identify the “triggers” that prevent you from living a life of self-control?

Verses:
1 Peter 1:13  ”So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

2 Peter 1:5-8  ”In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Quote:
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” - Brian Tracy

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Optimism

Optimism [op-tuh-miz-uhm] – noun; a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome, the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world

A disposition. Have you noticed that so many of the character traits of God that we must strive to develop in our own lives have so much to do with our disposition or attitude? An attitude of optimism chooses to “see the glass half full” instead of half empty. Yes, things come into our lives every day that we would gladly do without. Yes, we don’t always have “good days,” but regardless of our circumstance, we have to decide to view our life through God’s lens of optimism.  Through prayer you can keep negative and self-degrading thoughts at bay. They have no place in your life! Hope in God! Exult in HIM and what HE has done!

Reflect:
Make a list of things in your life that could use a change in perspective.

Think about how your disposition affects those around you. How would choosing optimism change the atmosphere in your circle?

Optimism is directly related to thankfulness – take a minute (or several) to stop and thank God for what He is doing in your life.

Verses:
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!”

Proverbs 17:22 “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

Quote:
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Kindness

kind-ness [kahynd-nis] – noun; the state or quality of being kind, indulgent, considerate, or helpful - generous, good

Showing consideration to others.  Being nice.  Saying please and thank you.  Spreading joy through a smile.  Opening a door.  Extending compliments.  Asking another, “How can I help?”  This character trait is self-less and giving in simple ways without expecting to receive anything in return.  There is a movement that produces over 2.1 million search results on Google – Random acts of kindness.  Wikipedia describes it as a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual.  If everyone could live in this state of kindness, the world would be at peace.  We cannot rely on others to make the world a better place – kindness starts with you.

Reflect:
Recall a time when you were the recipient of an act of kindness, how did it make you feel?

What are 5 small “random acts of kindness” you can give away today?

What prevents you from taking action with the lingering thoughts in your head to show kindness?

Verses:
Ephesians 4:32 ”Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Proverbs 12:25 “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

Quote:
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” - Mother Teresa

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here

Meekness

meek-ness [mēknis] – noun; the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness, a disposition to be patient and long suffering.

The quality of meekness is often misinterpreted as “weakness.” For us to be humble and have a meek disposition, we often think we must be a “doormat” or have no backbone. Friend, this fruit of the Spirit is the exact opposite of any of those things. Meekness is a freedom from arrogance and pride. It causes us to have a low estimation of ourselves. It is not calling us to think badly of ourselves. That is another form of pride. Rather, it is calling us to realize our own faults, and in realizing that to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with love and humility. Meekness is humility. We are called to be meek not weak!

Reflect:
Why do you think it is oftentimes difficult to BE meek?

In what ways did Christ demonstrate meekness?

How can you “consider others more significant than yourself” today?

Verses:
Philippians 2:3-8 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”

Quote:
“Meekness is power under control.” – Warren Wiersbe

On July 11th we are starting a 7 week series –> Unpacking The Lord’s Prayer <– Consider joining us!  Sign-up to receive post updates via email –> here and/or If you’re on facebook “like” our Choose to Grow Page –> here