Make one change for Him. Daily choices determine our habits, and habits form a life. Big changes always start with one step you take over and over again. Recently, I gave my phone to my husband as he headed out the door to work and told him I would pick it up in the afternoon. That was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. I recognized that a habit I had allowed to form was drowning the one I really desired to live out. I needed to shut down the habit of checking in with the world so I could focus on what God has for me in this season. Because we are creatures of habit, change will always challenge us. Fasting is perhaps the surest way to awaken us to what we hold quite tightly too. When I want to shake my spirit from dullness, I skip a meal and cause my mind to reflect on God. What is one change you can make….or need to make…to help your focus turn towards Him? It may just be the best decision you make.
Pick up a pen. No other created thing God made can communicate through the written word. There is something powerful about writing. Whether it means you begin taking notes again during the sermon time, start journaling your evening prayers or just always have a pen handy when reading scripture. I thoroughly enjoyed When I Journal, He Speaks by Dr. Michelle Miner. The Holy Spirit is actively speaking to believers. Writing helps us tune in to what we think we are hearing from Him. Putting the pen to paper (or hitting the keyboard) is one way we “capture our thoughts” so we can put them up against the light of truth and combat any lies of the enemy. As King David sang unto the Lord, he declared that his tongue was the pen of a skillful writer. (Psalm 45:1) He turned his praise into written word so others would know the goodness of the Lord. Just imagine if we did not have the Psalms today! Pick up a pen, listen and lean into what the Spirit is saying.
Cultivate daily worship. When a local radio station challenged listeners to listen only to Christian music for thirty days, they saw a huge response in the attitudes of callers who participated. We were made for worship. The ironic truth is that as we worship God, it actually renews our own spirit within. Feelings won’t always come first. That’s okay. You may even feel distant from the Lord and wouldn’t know where to start. Try out a Christian station on Pandora or play soft music on your iPhone while reading the Psalms in the morning. God has promised He will inhabit the praises of His people. When you choose to enter an atmosphere of praise, you are drawing near to God. And He will draw near to you.
Read the Bible out loud. We know from studies that when you increase the modes of learning, the brain sits up to pay attention. Even visual learners will increase their memory when sound is added. One really enriching way to do this is reading to your children, but anyone can benefit. Specifically, I find that reading the Psalms or Isaiah out loud can cause the words to catch in my spirit. I find I start praying the words and coming into agreement. God chose to communicate with us through the written word. He is waiting to speak to you on every page. If reading has become old hat, try something new. Find a hidden place to go by yourself and read aloud. Turn every reading into a time of prayer by saying, “Thank you God for this truth.”
Choose community. Christianity does not flourish in isolation. My most intimate times with the Lord have surely been alone with Him, but I will bear little fruit for Him, if any, sitting in my home. Because the Lord designed us in His image, we have the built-in need for fellowship and communion. For many, this step is huge or hard. Isolation has become common in a world in which connecting includes only a screen. Many are alone or don’t know where to start. When we sink into ourselves, our spirit will become dry. Everyone, at some time or another, has felt alone. God wants to lift you up. He sees you. But you would help his cause quite a bit if you would give Him the chance to love you through the tangible hands and feet of the church again. If you have allowed a hurt from a person to transfer to the Lord, remember that God is defined as love. Choose to attend church this week. Let the pastor put the ashes on your forehead and remind you that “from dust you came and to dust you shall return.” Then remember that the pastor will also face eternity and we are all in the same boat. Call an old friend and ask them about their faith walk these days. Attend a Bible study and take a deep breath knowing everyone else in the room needs help just as much as you.
Our church is asking a question during Lent: How can you go deeper with God? We’ll be discussing the vows we take upon joining a church and what that means for a follower of Christ. What are some ways you go deeper with Him? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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