Monday, January 5, 2015

Looking for Your Very Best with God in 2015? Here are six things to help you along the way.

     It should every Christian's desire to be constantly growing closer to God. An active prayer life, consistent Bible reading and Church attendance are the foundations of Spiritual Growth. I want to share with you six things that I think will help you grow even more in 2015!  This is not a complete list and I would love to hear your suggestions as to what should be added. Have a wonderful and blessed year!

1. Lose the Pride

James 4:6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

     One of the biggest things holding back Spiritual Growth in Christians is their refusal to ask for help.  Men, in particular, seem to see asking for help as a weakness when actually it is a sign of wisdom and strength. None of us are able to do it alone, we all need help. Help from the church, help from loved ones and most importantly, help from God. Get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do His work in your life. Let Him lead you and empower you.

     James 4:6 tells us that “God resisteth the proud”, let that sink in. God does not ignore the proud He actively works against them. Life is hard enough with fighting with God along the way. Lose the pride and let God be God.

2. Start Serving

Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

     We are all created on purpose and for a purpose. What is your purpose? One of the quickest ways to find your purpose is to start serving anywhere in the Church. Once you show your desire to serve God He will quickly show you if where you are serving is the right place or not. Step out and make the commitment to serve by serving.

     Don’t confuse serving man with serving God. God’s work flows through the local, not above it or around it. Be cautious of “para-ministries” that operate outside of God’s ordained institution of the local church. More often than not, man’s plans for you are not God’s plans for you.

3. Love like God

1 John 4:19 states, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

     Love to the World is intangible. Poets and authors have been trying to nail down what love is for thousands of years, with little success.  God nailed down what love is on the cross of Calvary, where His Son sacrificed Himself for you. God’s love is tangible.

     To love like God we must also make our love real. Anybody can talk about love, but to love like God love must be expressed. We can’t love sitting the pew we must get up and go out into our communities. Pray and look for opportunities to show God’s love. Seek out the shut-ins and the hungry. Go beyond your neighborhood and take Christ’s love to the world by making plans to join your church on a short term foreign mission trip.

1 John 4:8 (KJV) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

4. Let it go

Matthew 6:14 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

     I am one of the few people who have yet to see the Disney movie Frozen.  Nerveless, despite my best efforts, I have not been able to avoid it’s theme song “Let it Go”. There is a lot of theology in that simple phrase.

Has someone hurt you or someone you love – Let it go
Were you fired for something that wasn’t your fault – Let it go
Has someone talked about you behind your back – Let it go

     This year make a habit of forgiving others. Living in a state of unforgiveness will destroy your Spiritual Growth, damage your other relationships and even damage your health. All the while doing nothing to the person you are holding the grudge against.

     Forgiving someone doesn’t let that person off the hook for their bad deeds; it simply moves the vengeance from your heart and into God’s hands where it should have been in the first place. Also, forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have to restore relations with them. God does not intend for you to live in a situation where you will be repeatedly hurt. It’s ok to forgive and still eliminate someone from your life.

5. Unplug from distraction

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

     Technology is great at distracting us from Jesus. I wonder what would happen if we all focused on Jesus before Facebook? Or if we spent as much time in prayer as we do watching TV? Technology is neither good nor bad, it is a tool, and it’s how we use it that determines whether it is good or bad in our lives.

     Plan some time every day to unplug from the world and look to Jesus.

6. Stand

Ephesians 6:13 (KJV) “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

     It’s easy to stand with God when everything is going how you planned, but what about when everything is crashing down around you? If you have taken the time to set your goals with God then don’t let the storms of life through you off course. Every season comes with challenges. Circumstances will change, but God never will. When things get rough, stand. When you feel like giving up, stand. When the world turns against you, stand. Stay the course, Stand.  The prize is worth it all.