Each year many plan their New Year resolutions. Each year resolutions made become resolutions broken. Resolutions are good, but we are not our resolutions. We are our habits.

An anonymous quote I came across several years ago says it all:

Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!

As a pastor, I have conversations with Christians and non-Christians alike regarding their spiritual lives. One of the more consistent conversations revolves around one’s identity or self-perception. We live in a culture that suggests we can be or become whatever we think or dream. The identity crisis that permeates gender and sexuality found its roots in the self-help ideology that believes we can define ourselves, our future, and our successes.

After a recent win for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers articulated a belief in himself and self-fulfillment. He went on to say: “I do believe in the power of manifestation and I do believe in momentum and I believe very strongly in the force of the mind. And when you start to believe something strongly, some miraculous things can happen.”

That’s well and good, but the Packers lost last night agains the Detroit Lions. Manifestation and the force of the mind failed Rodgers and the Packers in a game where a win would get them to the playoffs.

Identity and belief is tremendously important, but not in the way self-help gurus and the identity culture we live in would have us believe.

We are first and foremost who God says we are. This means we are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:28). This truth about identity is for every person on earth regardless of religion, experience, background, or environment.

For those who follow Jesus, we are described as new creatures and the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). While we are sinners by nature, we have been justified by God through Christ (Romans 3:21-26). We have been given the privilege of becoming children of God by faith in Christ (John 1:12). On an on the Bible goes about our identity in Christ.

This is where our habits come to play in our Christian experience. Our habits either support what the Bible says about our identity in Christ or they align with cultural values. Our habits teach and form us. Reading the Word, praying, attending church, memorizing Scripture, being involved in an accountable community, and other disciplines remind us regularly of our identity in Christ and his redeeming and transforming work in our lives. Christians who neglect these spiritually forming habits are in danger of buying into the cultural shortcomings that so pervade education, media, and ideologies.

So in this new year, will you review your habits? Discover whether you’re Bible reading, prayer, and church engagement are adequate to form your faith and walk with Christ spiritually. If you’d like to consider these questions at a deeper level make plans to attend Wilkesboro Baptist during our series on the book of Hebrews. We’re learning what it means to follow Christ who is greater than the patterns, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament. If you’re not in our community, make sure you’re a part of a Bible-believing church with healthy leadership where you can grow in your knowledge of Christ and find accountability for your habits.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Our current sermon series at Wilkesboro Baptist Church is 1 Timothy: Guard the Gospel. In this pastoral epistle, Paul instructed Timothy to oversee the church at Ephesus. There were several false teachers who were distorting the gospel and disrupting the ministries of the church. Paul’s emphasis on leadership, gospel, and structure was intended to prioritize the mission and ministry of the church.

If you are reading this, then know that your church matters. The church matters because we are God’s family (Ephesians 3:14), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:32). Christ died for the church so we could belong to him and to one another.

In our Next Steps Class at Wilkesboro Baptist, we talk about six church member privileges.

  • Commitment. Church members commit to the gospel of Jesus Christ through interdependent relationships with a group of believers.
  • Convictions. Church members share the theological convictions of their local church and express them through the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper and regular participation in worship.
  • Care. Church members care for one another and experience the care of others through prayer, support, encouragement, growth, and accountability.
  • Community. Church members participate together in a community of faith acknowledging that we are not on spiritual islands, but that we need one another.
  • Challenge. Church members embrace the challenge of being on mission by leading our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus through worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating.
  • Connection. Church members are uniquely able to connect with other members in the decision making process by participating in church conferences where members have a voice in church decisions.

These are just some of the privileges experienced by the members of Wilkesboro Baptist Church.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be sharing more about the mission and ministry of Wilkesboro Baptist and things we can do as members to help our church grow healthy. Our sermons through 1 Timothy will address some of these items, and I will be writing on some of these topics as well.

Ultimately, we want the gospel to take root in our hearts and bear fruit in our lives.

We desire the gospel to take root in our hearts and deepen our faith in Jesus Christ. And as the gospel grows deep in our souls, we pray that it will bear the spiritual fruit of Christian maturity as well as the outward fruit of people becoming followers of Jesus.

If you haven’t found any of the privileges listed above at your local church yet, consider some of the following applications.

If you’re interested in building community in the life of WBC, Sunday school options can be found here at our website. Our Sunday school classes are open groups. If you’re interested in a closed discipleship group, let us know by emailing us

If you’re interested in learning more about what we believe and how our doctrine frames our faith, join us on Wednesday nights at 6 pm for Doctrine and Devotion: Theological Reflections for Spiritual Formation. We meet in the Sanctuary, and this doctrinal study is also available as a weekly podcast.

If you’re interested in more information about Wilkesboro Baptist, consider attending our Next Steps Class on April 3. You can register here. We overview our statement of faith, discuss our mission, and what it means to be a healthy church member.

If you’re interested in what we’re doing to serve our neighbors and the nations, then we have a group of mission partners we regularly support. In the coming weeks, we have an opportunity to support an ongoing ministry need. Samaritan’s Purse has developed a refugee resettlement ministry for those who were forced to leave Afghanistan. Our church is in the process of partnering with this ministry. We believe God wants us to go to the nations, but also believe that God wants us to share his love and gospel with the nations when they come to us.

If you do belong here at WBC, then would you participate in the life of our church through these prayers? Would you pray that we would care for those who are our church members? Would you pray that we would guard the gospel doctrinally and spread the gospel faithfully? Would you pray for those who lead and serve the church that we would guard our beliefs and our behaviors?