Based on the Bible, I am going to present to you thirty steps that will be very difficult to implement. However, if you are even able to accomplish some of them, your life will greatly improve. Especially will your attitude and spiritual vision improve. So, let’s get started:
Ephesians 4:32 tells us that we should be kind. On the surface that seems like an easy thing to do. But being kind to everyone all the time is not so easy. Especially is this true of those closest to us such as spouse or child or in-laws. I have yet in all my counseling to find a client who came back to me and said that they succeeded in this. They rationalized and then told themselves they did it but in talking to their spouse they did not. So, this is my first of thirty challenges. Read the Scripture and obey it.
Philippians 2:4 says that we should put other people first and be more supportive for their welfare and well-being than ourselves. Can we honestly without hesitation cheer when someone else gets a blessing instead of ourselves? What if someone gets a promotion that you wanted?
Philippians 2:14 goes further to say that we should avoid arguments. When we argue we are trying to either prove ourselves right or convince the other person they are wrong. The Bible does tell us not to argue at all. This involves our ego and our ambition.
Philippians 4:4 encourages us to rejoice always. It is very easy to be happy and rejoice when things are going well. God intends us to lift ourselves up by our boot straps (as the saying goes) and under any circumstance rejoice. You might ask in that situation what do I have to rejoice about? Maybe it would be a good idea before you find yourselves in a difficult situation to make a list of all those wonderful things rejoice.
Philippians 4:5 is a difficult thing for us to implement because we are supposed to be moderate. We could use gluttony as an example. Overeating and gaining weight would be less of a problem if we were moderate in our eating habits. This is true of every area of our life, if we would just be moderate in our approach to how we live our lives, we would not be bringing difficult situations into our personal arena.
Philippians 4:8 is one of my favorite Bible verses. We are to consciously cause ourselves to think in a positive manner. Keep in mind that we cannot think two thoughts at the same time. Therefore, think something either neutral or positive when we find ourselves thinking negatively. We should redirect our thoughts or reframe our thoughts to something neutral or positive.
Philippians 4:19 is only one of many verses in the Bible, including what Jesus said, that tells us we should trust God for our needs. That is easy when we feel we have life under control. But what if your back is against the wall and you have no idea where your next meal is coming from? This is the time to focus on God and not our need.
Colossians 2:8, 18 can also be difficult because we want to make friends with others whether they are a good influence or not. Perhaps we have our own motive wanting to be closer to that person. There are times we could present ourselves to other people as being needy. That requires us to have self-awareness. We should never need anyone. We should want them. Adding someone into our personal life should be a complement to our life and not be a form of rescue.
Colossians 3:13 tells us we must swallow hard and have a forgiving heart. Think of people that might, even in the distant past, that harmed you in some way and in your own mind you have not forgiven them. This is an acid eating away at the quality of your life. Whether the person asked for forgiveness or not is actually incidental. It is important for us to be ready and able to forgive.
First Thessalonians 2:12; 4:12 should be a personal goal for all of us. It would be very important for our own happiness to keep in mind the challenge to walk worthy of our Christian profession. Another way to put it is to walk in such a way that God would be proud of us.
First Thessalonians 5:15 is somewhat opposite of the above Scriptures because it tells us that we should not be spiteful. That means not to try to get even with people or to spread rumors about them or to belittle them in such a way that we get the upper hand over their reputation and injured their lives.
First Thessalonians 5:17 is a solution to many of our problems. The verse does not mean for us to present ourselves to society as holier than thou. It is does not mean that we should impose our religiosity on other people. It does mean to be in an attitude of prayer all day. Perhaps you look up at the sky and see how beautiful the clouds are. That would be a reason to whisper to thank God for his artistic work.
First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful. This is a matter of how we look at events in our lives. If we think of someone who gossiped about us or put us down, can we be thankful? We can be, if we look at the other side of this to realize that what they are saying is not true of us and we can thank God’s Holy Spirit who built us in a better way.
First Thessalonians 5:19 might be a Scripture difficult to understand even though it is just a few words. Have you ever been in a setting in which you knew God’s presence was there, but someone distracted others and ruined the moment? Has the Holy Spirit ever spoken to you that what you are doing is wrong, but you do it anyway? These are two examples of quenching the Spirit.
First Thessalonians 5:22 is a good one to always keep in mind. It is as simple measuring stick. There is a saying that if it walks like a duck and looks like a duck it is probably a duck. If something appears to be evil or unethical or immoral, it is probably a reason to run from it. Any time something pops up that would not be honoring God we should hightail it in the opposite direction.
Second Thessalonians 3:10 can be a hard one for some people to accept. It says if we do not work, we should not be allowed to eat. In other words, work is honorable. For everyone’s sake each of us must assume the response of being hard workers. Laziness has no place in the Christian life.
First Timothy 6:6 has been quite often misquoted. Often people say money is the root of all evil. That is not true. It is the love of financial gain and possessions. The love of money harms the needs of other people and harms relations ships. To love money puts it above people and obligation.
Second Timothy 1:7; first John 4:18 are important words especially for those who are depressed or anxious. God never intended for us have negative emotions. He wants us to avoid any hint of fear or a bad attitude. He wants us to realize that he has given us power and love and a sound mind, if we would just live it out.
Second Timothy 2:15 is not one that we really should have to say, but we need to anyway. The Bible is not one day a week book. It has been called God’s love letter. It has been called the map to heaven. It has been called the best psychological manual ever read., Study it, learn it, memorize it.
Second Timothy 2:22 should not have to be listed for ways to have a better life. However, because we are of a carnal nature and still natural human beings, we must control ourselves and not to lust. That word implies a deep longing for which we should never have in the first place such as an illicit relationship.
Titus 3:2 simply says that we should catch ourselves before we speak if they be words that are of evil intention about other people. Even if the other person is unlikable, there is still no reason to speak evil of them. Even if the other person has done you wrong, there is no reason to speak evil of them. Jesus, when he was on the cross, set us a good example. He looked down at those who were yelling at him and mocking him. He asked for God’s forgiveness in their behalf.
James 1:5 tells us that God is willing to give us wisdom if we ask for it. Understanding is knowing what to do, but wisdom is knowing the reason to do it. Avoid walking through life aimlessly. Have a direction and a reason for where you are and what you are doing.
James 1:8 and first Peter 1:13 makes an observation of human thinking. Another way to put it is to say that many like to walk the fence and not make commitments to one side or the other. It also warns us not to be a people pleaser.
James 3:13,14 speaks of one of the difficult things we could do concerning our own conduct. It has been said ill spoken words are like feathers in the wind that they can never be gathered back. Controlling how we speak is a minute-by-minute effort.
James 4:7 gives us wise words about the devil who we are to resist. I am reminded of a verse that says an Archangel of God was arguing with the devil over the body of Moses. The Archangel said the devil should be rebuked in the name of God. If we do not resist the devil, he will tear us apart.
First Peter 4:9 and James 5:9 joins together asking that we look deep into our hearts and do not hold a grudge against someone. All a grudge does is to eat away at ourselves for how we think. A grudge prevents us from enjoying life. A grudge makes us overly cautious about future relations.
First Peter 3:7 tells both man and a woman that to be good Christians and honorable to God they should have a healthy and happy marriage. Whatever would interfere from that must be addressed immediately and resolved. A healthy happy marriage is a great testimony to others.
First John 1:9, 16 must be taken cautiously. If we are to confess our sin to another, the person hearing must be dependable spiritually and mature not to turn that confession into gossip. This verse also reminds us that we all sin even as Christians and we cannot continue day by day with sins staining ourselves. It must be confessed so that God can wash it away.
Jude 4 is very important because we must be careful not to allow ourselves to deter us away from truth and accept false doctrine. That is how cults operate. That is how the devil operates. The method is to challenge truth and make us question it so that we are vulnerable.
Jude 16 is a diagnosis of what so often happens in a church. People who are not living close to God can begin to murmur and give the pastor problems. Often, they say, “There are other people who feel the same way that I do.” When they say this, they never tell the names of those that feel that way. They just make this statement to make themselves look powerful when actually they are making themselves look small. Any pastor that is confronted with this should immediately ask for the names of those other people and exactly what did they say so that he can talk to them and solve the problem. That will take the air out of their balloon!
Jude 20 is a good way to end this list because it says that we should do everything possible to build ourselves spiritually. In the Bible that phrases often is summarized in the word edify. Just as a person would lift weights or jog, so should we exercise spiritually so that we are strong and capable to serve the Lord.