In Caleb’s last post, he explored the difference between “Doing the Most” and “being productive.” As Christ followers, I believe stewarding this time we are given is a gift, one that we should value, as it is time to spend time getting to know our very own Creator. I want to give you 5 very practical ways that I have found help foster my relationship with Jesus. Of course, there are many ways to deepen this relationship, these are simply 5 that the Lord has laid on my heart.
- Giving. I’m sure the first thing you may think of is the traditional tithe, giving 10% of your earnings to your local church or missionaries. Awesome! May God bless your faithfulness. However, I want to push your thoughts here; as I am making my way through the Old Testament, I am amazed at how many offerings the Lord expected of the Israelites (ex: giving away the first fruits of all their labor). What would it look like to give our thoughts, mind, and other “gifts” to God?
- Rest. As I have fully acclimated to the college life, I’ve found how precious this is! In all seriousness, rest is a gift from God. In the beginning, God rested after his magnificent work on creating the universe (Genesis 2:2). This is honestly one that I struggle with. I often feel unproductive and lazy if I “rest.” But I don’t believe God wants us to be lazy. In a medical sense, rest is needed. In a spiritual sense, rest is one of the most glorifying ways to praise God: you are essentially taking the time to set things aside and say “Wow God, look at what you have allowed me to accomplish and how you have blessed me this week.” Rest is a vehicle for praise, stop seeing it as laziness.
- Worship. This is perhaps the Christian’s easiest “go to” vessel for how they believe they are spending time with God. We all know worship is more than a song (but I do work well to some very convicting Casting Crowns songs), it’s an action. Actively praising the Author of all things, giving Him all the glory you can possibly muster up. Sometimes, our own worship shows us areas that need improvement in our lives. It’s sometimes these moments in our spiritual walk that we are seeing the glory of God.
- Pray. Why don’t we pray more, as it is the most practical way to communicate with this all-knowing, all-powerful, almighty God we worship? I wish I knew the answer. In my own life, I have sought ways to improve my prayer life. In my dorm, I found it useful to create a prayer wall, one side of in-progress prayers, the others of answered prayers. One of the greatest joys I have experienced is getting to move a request to the answered side. It reminds me of God’s goodness daily. This leads me to say we need to start making prayer a priority, God wants to talk to you.
- Repent. This seems like an odd choice you may think. The simple response is this: growing a relationship is hard and messy, it requires forgiveness and repentance in the times there is wrongdoing. For us, it means perpetually laying down our bad habits, sinful actions, and denial of truth so that we may better understand and connect with the one who gave His Son for our salvation. Talking to God about your sin isn’t enough. We need to stop forgetting the “repent” part of confessing sin. Battling sin requires action, not just the right words.
A Greater Calling
As we strive to connect to our great God, it is paramount we remember who it was that wanted the connection first. God the Father yearns and longs to be in communion with us. He gave His Son so that we could spend eternity with Him. That’s how much He loves us, that’s how badly he wants to communicate with us. To pursue Christ, we must make Him a priority in our life.
In only ONE religion on this earth did a God-being descend to Earth, for the sole purpose of being the ultimate pure lamb, without blemish, to be sacrificed for the forgiveness of all sins. Although the world just throws it in a pile of other religions, pursuing Christ is not about strict rules and hard work, it’s about pursuing a relationship with the Most High God. This way of living is the greatest calling any human could feel called to. Don’t miss the opportunity, pursue Christ with all you have, because that’s what He did for you.