Daily involvement with God’s word
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Our flesh is constantly at odds with what the Spirit wants, therefore we need to daily offer up ourselves in service of God so as to recognize that our bodies are not our own, but the Father’s. Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'”. We must make a choice on a day to day basis to give up our sinful desires and live a life devoted to Him.
Form habits that are uncomfortable
Even though I am an extrovert and love talking to new people, it is hard to share my faith sometimes. There are habits that I have tried to form over the last few years to help with my shortcomings in this aspect of ministry though. The first is whenever going out to eat at a sit-down restaurant, I ask my server if there is anything I can pray for in their life. This does a few things: 1. It shows that you care. 2. It shows this person care about them. 3. It breaks down walls and opens the door for a gospel conversation.
Once when eating at a Bob Evans, I had brought my bible in with me and was reading when my waitress came to take my order. She was surprised to see the open bible and asked if I was a pastor. I chuckled and politely said no, but without me even asking, she started to ask for prayer for something in her life. THAT is the power of the gospel.
Prayer and alone time
Connecting with God through prayer provides us a chance to be quiet and listen to our Father. He wants to hear from us, but this does not mean we should expect answers. God is not an ATM for answering prayers, His timing and plan are totally independent of our own. In the past I have taken a day during the summer in which I traveled to a local state park and went hiking through the trails by myself. While out on the trails, I sing hymns and worship my Father for the blessings He has given me. Pouring out your heart to God in love and adoration is essential to our faith journey.
I love how my church goes about asking people to serve. They say, “We don’t ask someone to serve everywhere, but we ask that everyone serve somewhere.”. I may not have said it exactly right, but it gets the point across that everyone needs to be doing something in service in order to fulfill the great commission. There are many ways to serve and we are all given at least one spiritual gift. Whenever I think of someone who is not serving it brings to mind the image of a child opening a present at Christmas and saying, “This isn’t what I wanted.” and then proceeding to throw it back in God’s face. Do not tell me that you are incapable of serving when the one who is capable of all things has made you capable of serving somehow.
Throughout my life I have had many mentors who figuratively slapped me in the face when I was being dumb. This mentoring, while not fun most of the time, helped refine me as a man of God. These experiences taught me the importance of passing on the good news to younger generations. They taught me the value of being involved with a community of believers is essential to ones spiritual growth. Having someone who is more spiritually mature teaching you how to understand scripture better and also in turn going and teaching what you have learned is how the kingdom grows. For if we do not fulfill the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, then what are we doing with our faith?
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