Does anyone remember this commercial? (the fact that this commercial appears here does NOT mean I endorse its products, employment practices, environmental record, etc. Its just an illustration, ok?)
“Habits of the Holy will help the
Christian to become more Christlike
but they will not make one holy”
Like BASF claims to improve products (but not inventing products), when applied correctly the Habits of the Holy will help the Christian to become more Christlike but they will not make one holy. I see it much like becoming a marksman in the Marine Corps. Once I became a marksman – once I had the rudimentary skills – practicing the acronym BRASS-F became very important. In fact, the more I practiced BRASS-F, the better I got. But doing BRASS-F did not make me a marksman. No, like BASF claims, it simply made my marksmanship skills better.
But what is BRASS-F? It isn’t a metal polishing agent—that is Brasso. It isn’t a new way of interpreting evidence for the Big bang and Darwinian evolution. It isn’t even a new management technique.
So what is BRASS-F?
It represents a habit that, if performed each time, will refine the skills a marksman has developed. I learned this acronym back in 1982 while in Marine Corps Boot Camp. It has stuck with me all these years. So, what does it mean? I’m glad you asked!
Breathe: Slow, steady breathing is essential to hit the target;
Relax: Relaxation of one’s grip on the weapon of choice is important as is the relaxation of every part of the sharpshooter;
Aim: Get your sight alignment and sight picture correct. Place your front sight on the target. One cannot hit where one does not aim!
Stop: Stop breathing for a moment—but just a moment while you perform the next step
Squeeze: With steady pressure, slowly squeeze the trigger of your weapon. Don’t jerk it back, squeeze it slowly while maintaining your proper aim.
Follow-through: Let the weapon come to its natural rest.
I followed this acronym each time I had to qualify with my M16A1 Service Rifle. (For the record, my rifle serial number in boot camp was 4799618. Some things one does not forget!) Each time I qualified with my weapon during my time in the Marine Corps, I shot what is termed a “possible” at 500 yards from the target. What is a “possible” you ask? Well that means that for each possible shot I took, I hit the center of the target. That’s right. I have never missed the bull’s-eye from 500 yards away. And the reason isn’t because I am a great sharpshooter. No, I followed BRASS-F and formed a habit. While it was difficult the first few times I practiced BRASS-F, as I practiced it it become automatic. I didn’t have to think about it anymore – I just did it. The habit of practicing BRASS-F made me a better sharpshooter.
But what about holiness? Have I formed a habit regarding my walk with Christ that could be characterized as “holy”? Hmmm. What would THAT look like?
In my first post I explained how we are set apart by God as a holy people. That means that we are separated for a specific use. That use, I believe, is to glorify God in whatever way He chooses to use us. The Habits of the Holy have to do with becoming much more like Christ in our everyday life. It is a habit that does not make us holy, but makes us holier. Much like BASF, the Habits of the Holy will make us closer to Christ in likeness and conduct. If we apply these habits everyday, we will become progressively more like Him
We need to understand that this won’t be instantaneous. We need to be patient and get out of our microwave, gotta-have-it-now culture and realize life-change takes awhile. Much like becoming a better sharpshooter, the process of becoming more Christlike – the progressive sanctification process – will take time and effort on our part. We need to be patient and continually move forward toward being more Christ-like. We won’t sprint to get there. No, we’ll need to simply move forward with consistency and purpose. It’ll be like a plodder. Just keep moving forward…just plod along.
So how do we do this? Well, at the risk of being too cute, we each become a PLODR. We must
Pray and Persevere
Listen and Learn
Observe and Obey
Discern and Depend
Rinse and Repeat
Each of these habits are good by themselves. But they are better when practiced together. When we practice these habits together, we cannot help but become more Christlike. We’ll consider these five couplets which comprise the Habits of the Holy in the coming weeks. When we look at each one, I’ll be sharing from Scripture examples that teach each habit. So whaddya say? Wanna be a PLODR along with me and be habitually holy? Our first stop is on prayer.