i’m just gonna jump right in: how do you grow as a christian? what kind of life should you live that will please God?
my church has worked on narrowing the answer down to four things that they call “practices of a Christ follower.” and they are:
i love this concept! it’s so super easy to get my head around. and it helped make something very obvious for me.
you see, i ended up in a bit of a rut. a spiritual rut. and i didn’t know why and couldn’t put my finger on it.
until i looked at the four practices.
i started to work my way down the list and determine whether or not i was putting all four of these practices to work in my own life:
yes, i was having my regular quiet time every morning. sometimes following our series study guide, sometimes doing my own Bible reading plan. i was spending time in prayer and seeking his direction in my life.
i was! jon and i were in an awesome life group with people we really related to and were pumped to be spending our lives with these amazing people.
yep – we were attending worship services regularly. even if we couldn’t make it to the building on a sunday, we always logged on to our live streaming service and attended “tv church.” but our favorite has been being there, on site, amongst our christ fellowship family, worshiping all at once. there is something powerful and humbling about that for me.
um… houston, we have a problem. there was a gaping hole here. i think i found my rut.
here’s the thing. i am fine with giving my money to the church and for mission work, i’ll buy food for someone or contribute to good causes. but when you start asking for my time … like i said, houston … problem.
i am a homebody. i love “me” time. and i’m not spontaneous in the least.
in fact, i will often put events on our shared family calendar called “do not schedule” so it blocks a few evenings a week just to ensure i can spend that time at home. it’s my happy place.
i only have to please me at home. i only have to take care of me and make sure my needs are met. i don’t have to consider another human being (husband sometimes excepting, of course). i don’t even have to say anything – or even open my mouth, for that matter. i can just keep my mouth shut and breathe through my nose.
ahh. silence. perfection.
but if i’m really honest with myself, i have to admit that shutting myself up at home goes against the very grain of why God even created me in the first place.
the Bible is chock full of examples of how we are designed to serve others. it talks about how God gave us specific skills that we are to use for the benefit of others. it’s why he skilled us. not so we could make a living with them, or show off with them, or become famous from them. for the benefit of others.
God even goes so far as to say that when we benefit others, we are benefitting him. that whatever we do ‘for the least of these’ we do for him.
when i’m using my skills and passions to impact others, i’m not only pleasing God and living up to my purpose, but i’m doing it to impact him!
so, back to the list.
when i realized that my missing practice was impacting others, i started praying about how God wanted me to do it. where did he want me to serve?
and as i truly opened my heart to his direction, i felt like i received some very clear direction:
so those are the ways right now that i’ve been seeking to impact others. and i’m just trying to stay open and obedient to God’s leading so that my life will be lived according to why i was given it.
and wouldn’t you know, my rut disappeared.
are you lacking in any of the four practices? is there an area where God wants to grow you?
please share it! i’d love to hear it and perhaps journey together with you toward Christlikeness.
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