Prayer is a spiritual discipline that most Christians are familiar with but most of us are frustrated with at times. Why don’t Christians pray more? We don’t know how. If you didn’t grow up in church, or even if you did, praying can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you grew up in a formal church where the pastor […]
Information without application becomes stagnation. If you’re ready to stop merely agreeing with the Bible and start putting it into practice, here are four steps in the right direction:
1). Get in the Word everyday.
That should be self-explanatory, and we all would say this is important, but less than half of us actually read our Bibles once a week, much less everyday. If you’ve never really read the Bible before start with the book of John. It’s the fourth book of the New Testament, you can find it in your Table of Contents. It tells the story of the life of Jesus. Read a chapter a day. That will take you three weeks. When you’re finished, you can keep going to the next book, the book of Acts, which will take you a month to finish. When you’re done with that, look on the Bible app and follow one of the hundreds of Bible reading plans out there. It all starts with getting in the Word everyday. The instructional manual to your life is right there. You just have to pick it up and start reading.
2). Always leave the Bible with a next step.
This is critical, and this is where the classical Sunday School approach can do more harm than good. Growing up for me, Sunday School was all about information transfer. I went to Sunday School to learn more about the Bible, which in and of itself isn’t bad, but it can’t be the final goal. Remember what Jesus said, it’s not enough to merely hear the Word of God, we have to put it into practice. And that’s why the phrase ‘next step’ is so important to this blog. When you read the Bible, don’t just ask “What does God want me to know?” You need to also ask “What does God want me to do?” Before you put your Bible down, you need to have a next step. How will what you just read change your day, in a big way or small way?
3). Study the Bible in community.
Remember what we say all the time? We do life together. Why is that important? Because most of what the Bible tells you to do has to do with how you interact with other people. When you study the Bible in community, you not only learn it together, you can live it together. That’s why small groups are so important: it’s a laboratory for you to start living out what you’re learning, and it’s a built in accountability group. If you don’t have someone holding your feet to the fire, you won’t follow through with what you want to do. You have to be in an environment where you can study the Bible in community.
4). Celebrate the small wins.
As much as you’d prefer to take a shortcut and magically become a super Christian overnight, that’s not how it works. Spiritual growth happens one small decision at a time. And you need to celebrate those small decisions with others. If you’re trying to lose weight, what’s the one thing you crave to hear from someone more than anyone else: “Have you lost weight?” It might be only six ounces, but by Jesus I am losing weight!!!!
If you never read your Bible and you read it two times this week, celebrate that. If you have a problem with cursing and if you can make it an afternoon without losing it, celebrate that. If you struggle with an addiction and go a day without that addiction, celebrate it. Celebrate the small wins, and celebrate them with community. Have other Christians in your life that you can celebrate with. If you see someone really trying and they’re making progress, let them know.