Here are a few hints for planting yourself well, wherever God leads you through the changes of life:
1. Join a local church. But don’t just join – I mean, don’t just show up – really dive in. Give your all to your fellow Christians there. They need you, and you need them. You bring a unique and significant contribution to the Body of Christ – if you don’t give it, the Body lacks without you!
2. Participate in worship. Think about the words you are singing, and sing them with all your heart to God. Worship Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
3. Join a small group of other committed Christians who are…
- studying the Bible together,
- praying for & with each other,
- encouraging each other with Truth,
- defending each other from spiritual attacks and lies.
4. Develop a regular devotional habit. Set aside 30 minutes each day to spend focused time alone with God. Our relationship with God is just like any other relationship in life: it requires time to grow and deepen. Time alone with God is not a rule – it’s not a law to either follow or break. It’s an invitation from your heavenly Father who loves you, who wants to spend time with you, who wants you to get to know Him better.
The best way to do that is with regular time alone with Him,
- listening to Him,
- sharing your thoughts & emotions with Him,
- reading about His past faithfulness to generations of people in the Bible,
- asking for His help with big decisions or transitions or fears or opportunities.
These 4 practices aren’t mandatory. God doesn’t stop loving you if you miss church or reading your Bible. But the more you invest in your own relationship with God, and the more you share yourself with the family of God, the deeper and stronger your faith will be.
The Bible uses very relational terms to describe us and God. God is Father; He has adopted us into His family as sons and daughters. What would your relationship with your earthly Dad be like if you never talked to him or spent time with him? He’d still be your Dad, and you’d still be his child, but your relationship would be very weak; you wouldn’t have much of a connection…
Jesus describes Himself as a close, dear friend – closer than a brother. Think of your very best friend – what if you never hung out with each other? You would still care about each other, but your closeness would fade, and your friendship would be shallow and weak…
The Bible describes our relationships with other Christians like a family – that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. For those of you who have siblings – what would it be like if you stopped spending time together or seeing each other? You’d still be siblings, but you would have a very weak connection, and eventually you would find that you hardly know each other anymore.
These Christian practices are like that. Going to church, reading your Bible – these things do not make you a Christian. God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice and your faith in Him – these are the things that make you a Christian. Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship. Following Jesus is not a checklist to be completed; it is loving relationship established by grace and nurtured through quality time. These Christian practices I’ve just talked you through are how you strengthen and propel your relationship with God forward.