FIRST-PERSON: The basics of a dynamic faith
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- None of us set out to live a mediocre spiritual life. But in the midst of our busy schedules, many of us have forgotten something very important. We have forgotten to practice the basics that shape us as Christians.
Getting back to the basics
-- Worship. What is worship? Worship is seeing the things on earth in perspective to the things in heaven. When you understand what the Bible says about God in His majesty and power, you will be able to praise Him, no matter what your present circumstance. Worship God every day in your prayers, songs, thoughts and conversations. If you only practice praise on Sunday mornings, you'll miss what God wants to do in your life the other six days of the week.
-- Prayer. If you want to find out where you are spiritually, ask yourself this question: What is the level of my commitment to my prayer life? If you want the Lord's blessing on your life, there just isn't any alternative to prayer. Prayer is the way you defeat the devil, reach the lost, restore a backslider, strengthen the saints, send missionaries out, cure the sick, accomplish the impossible and know the will of God. Prayer is the hard-work business of Christianity, and it nets amazing results.
-- Bible study. Reading the Bible takes discipline in the same way that exercise does. You can't just do it when you feel like it. Set up a system in your life to study the Bible on a daily basis. The Bible not only provides information; it gives practical instructions for dynamic Christian living. When you read the Bible, ask yourself three important questions: What does the passage say? What does it mean? How can I apply it to my life? Find out what God says and do it.
-- Scripture memorization. Commit yourself to Bible memory. Sometimes you need a word from God immediately when there's not a Bible available. If your mind is filled with the Word of God, then it can't be filled with impure thoughts. Two things cannot occupy your mind at the same time. Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
-- Journaling. A journal is simply a book in which you keep a personal record of your spiritual journey. Record your goals, prayers, thoughts or Scriptures. Not only will the journal keep you accountable to spiritual disciplines, it will encourage you for years to come as you record God's work in your life.
-- Church fellowship. Is church membership really important? Some people claim that they can worship God from any location. So what makes the church necessary in my Christian experience? God never intended that any Christian should live in isolation. Hebrews 10:25 says that we need to "stir up love and good works" and to "exhort one another." Be sure to find a church where you are spiritually fed and have opportunities to serve the body of Christ.
-- Giving. Giving may be the most neglected of the basics, and yet every single one of us is responsible for what we do with our money. God's plan for our financial success is clear. Giving, or tithing, 10 percent of your income to your church not only provides for God's work, it shows God that He is your priority. The Bible tells us that if you give generously to God, He will open the windows of heaven and pour out a great blessing into your life.
-- Witnessing. When researcher George Barna asked Christian adults what their most important goal was in life, not a single person said to make disciples of Christ. Yet what was Jesus' last command to us as believers? To make disciples of all the nations.
As you've been reading, were you reminded that you have slowly forgotten to practice one (or more) of these basics in your life? If so, it's time to get back to basic training. With a specific basic in mind, ask yourself three important questions: What needs to change in my life to make time for the basic? What prevents me from making these changes? What are the consequences to my spiritual life if I do not change?
It's not always easy to practice the basics of a dynamic faith. But as you do, you will discover a life so full of God's presence that you will never forget them again.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers and in Townhall.com. For permission to reprint it, contact Myrna Davis at email@example.com.