Putting God in Your Heart, Soul, and Strength
“The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” Lamentations 3:25
Many of our brothers and sisters have hit a wall concerning their spiritual growth. They are at a place in their life where they struggle to see God’s presence, and their relationship with Jesus is not as vibrant as it was when they first decided to follow Him. If asked they will admit they don’t pray or read and study scripture as often as they’d like. Some have even dropped those practices altogether. Sadly, the reality of 2019 is that all our waking moments seem to be filled with competing priorities and other distractions. The world tugs at all of us and busyness steals us from our family, our pleasures and our Lord. No one really wants to work long days, ignore their families, or let their relationship with God slide. So, we must find a way to accomplish our most important activity of becoming the follower that Jesus desires for us.
Spiritual disciplines do not come easy to many as often when we are on our journey, we feel like we are on a spiritual roller coaster. To get off the ups and downs, it takes humility and commitment. We will need to acknowledge where we are now and be willing to have a desire to get even closer to God. Over the next few weeks, we are going to address the practices of prayer, engaging scripture and drawing closer to God. We want to offer some helpful tips that have worked for us and many others who tried to get back on track. Our relationship with Jesus is personal to each of us, and although we can suggest some practices, only you can know what works with your lifestyles, your family, and your desires. Like every other habit that we know is good for us, it will take time as well as some personal choices.
This week we’d like to challenge you to do two things. Firstly, make a calendar covering off a week and include the hours of the day that you are usually awake (i.e. 05:00 – 22:00). Start to fill in the time slots with the activities that you tend to do during the week. Include all meal breaks, preparation time, travel time, work, entertainment time and so on. After you have filled out the calendar think about the spiritual practice goals, you’d like to accomplish. For example, maybe you’d want to read scripture a couple of times during the week and study the bible for maybe at least 30 minutes once a week. Perhaps you’d like to pray for 5 or 10 minutes each day as well as take 30 minutes at the end of the week to talk and listen to God. These don’t have to be your goals but identify something you’d like to do. Caution – don’t say I want to get up at 4:00 AM each morning and for 2 hours read scripture and pray. That may come later but identify a goal you know is achievable at the onset. Once you have completed your calendar, look to see where you have time to fit in these goals. If you are like most of us, you will have to give something up to pursue your spiritual objectives. Reflect on this and start to think about where you can manipulate your calendar to fit in these goals.
Secondly, start a daily devotional. This is a straight forward activity that can prepare you in adjusting your weekly calendar. Devotionals are great because they offer a few verses of scripture, as well as some life applications that are easy to follow. Because you are seeking God, we know the Holy Spirit will bring the devotional to your mind several times throughout your day helping with the practice of sensing God’s presence throughout your day. Many use the electronic devotional YouVersion. It not only offers numerous translations of the Bible in both reading and audio format, but it also provides hundreds of simple to follow devotionals that take just a few minutes and can be read or listened to while eating breakfast or even having a quick coffee. This tool is available on all types of phones and computers. The reason we endorse this idea is that the word of God is placed in your mind at the start of the day through scripture, prayer and life application.
Our spiritual practices don’t earn us any points with God or make us better or holier than other Christians. They lead us to a more significant relationship with God and His children. Studying, not just reading scripture and spending intentional, planned time in communication with God, will open our minds to God. God’s desire for you is that you experience awakening such that these practices stop becoming activities in your daily routine but become catalysts to influence and inspire the way you live and perform all actions each day.
Here is a link for: “Prayer tips Part 1″ for you to consider.