A few months ago, I was on a cruise and I passed a lady that was reading a book about God. I stopped by her chair near the pool, asked her if she was saved (she was!!!!), and then proceeded to get into an awesome meaty conversation about both of our testimonies. It was so cool! I love divine connections like that!
She shared something with me that day that altered my relationship with God. She told me that there was no such thing as plateauing in your faith. You are either going from glory to glory to glory, or you are backsliding. You cannot be stagnant with Jesus.
I cannot even count the times that I have felt lifeless and motionless in my faith. I would always describe it as being on a plateau in my relationship with Him, but in reality, I just wasn't growing or going deeper at all. We, as the Church, are going to always have times of feeling the Holy Spirit more than other times, but we should never have a full season where we stop maturing or resembling Christ.
When I got back home from that vacation, I was so convicted and I knew how important it was to think about some ways I could grow in my faith, even if I had to make some major changes to my life in order to get there. I knew that I was being called by God to be intentional, and not to be swayed by anything life threw my way. So for the last few months, these are some things I've been incorporating throughout my life to continually move forward in my journey with God.
Pray During The Day
Most of us have jobs, and with a job comes a commute. This can often consist of sharing heated words with fellow drivers in traffic, building anxiety or dread for the day ahead, or just listening to random songs on the radio. However, instead of wasting your time being annoyed at other drivers, take that time to pray, turn down the music and simply talk to God.
Sometimes we let our lives get so crowded with noises and distractions that we do not take the time to just pray.
Prayer is such a vital part of our spiritual lives and without it, we can often feel distant from God and lonely in our faith. Prayer is the way that we connect to God on a personal level. These prayers do not have to be perfectly curated, rather they can be a simple cry of the heart. During my commute in the morning, I make it a point to put on some worship music on low in the background, and just worship God through prayer. I thank Him for what He's done in my life, and I also begin to intercede for those I love. My commute times have become my absolute favorite because I use those 40 minutes to be intimate with Him.
God is always open and ready to talk. So start today. Whether you have a five minute commute or an hour commute, use that time to just to exalt the creator of the universe.
I don’t mean that every Saturday you need to go help out at your local soup kitchen, (although that would be awesome), but what I mean by serving others is finding spaces in your life where you can give to someone else. This could be as simple as thinking of someone who needs encouragement each day, and making it a point to send them a sweet text. You can also reach out to your pastor each week and see if there are any needs that can be met by you. A few days ago, I texted an elder at my church and they were planning this big spa day for all of the women servers at our church. I asked how I could get involved and I winded up picking up lunch for the ladies and I helped coordinate childcare.
Servanthood is not on my list of spiritual gifts. I'm not someone who enjoys going out of my way to meet needs. But I just know that no matter what gifts we have, we are are called in someway to still serve like Jesus did.
All it takes is opening your eyes to what is going on around you and then allowing the Holy Spirit to show you where there are needs that have not yet been met. Serving others is a way to get outside of yourself and see God’s work in the lives of the people around you. By doing this, you are training yourself to see the world more like Jesus does. He didn’t go around looking at Himself all the time, though He was God, rather He noticed and was aware of all of the needs around Him. We should strive to be more willing to serve and give to the needs right in front of us.
Listen To Podcasts
The podcast world is constantly growing and there are so many Christians who are sharing their thoughts about faith and Christian advice through really inspiring episodes! This is a great way to find some interesting topics to listen to while you are working out at the gym or maybe even completing some work.
Podcasts are a wonderful learning tool and you may find that they help you spark new thoughts in areas you had not considered before. I just released my own podcast called Sought After, and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo below!
Every single topic points back to Jesus and my hope is that each episode will challenge you to run your race with full endurance.
Mine isn't the only faith podcast though. There are so many! Some of them deal more with theology study, some are more like recorded sermons, and others discuss aspects of the Christian life such as business, family, children, routines, etc. Think of a topic you may want to learn more about, in regards to your faith, and try to find a podcast you can listen to that addresses that topic.
Read The Psalms
It is so important that we are in scripture as much as possible! That is ultimately the only way we will ever grow. Not only is it the only way for us to deepen our understanding of God but it is also our source of truth. Without being in His word, we may not understand the truths of God as well as we want to.
If you aren't sure where to start in your devotional readings, I recommend reading through the Psalms. Although some mornings may seem like finding the time to sit down and read scripture for a few minutes is impossible, you may have to sacrifice waking up just a little earlier in order to get it done. The Psalms are also very helpful because it allows for you to read scripture, but in short chunks, so that it is easier to fit into your day on a busy morning.
This one is huge! Gratitude is a practice that can completely change your faith life. When we are constantly negative or complaining about all the things that we don’t like about our lives, we miss out on experiencing the joy of God’s goodness. However, when we make a point to practice gratitude, it changes our perspective and allows us to begin to see all the positive things that we missed before.
It is crazy how a lack of gratitude can completely blind us to any true blessing in our lives, and without seeing all of God's gifts in our lives, it can be hard to praise God the way that we were created to. It can be hard to have the joy of the Lord in our hearts when we are busy complaining about what we aren't happy about. Gratitude has the power to change that around and give us a heart filled with contentment and joy.
Some simple ways to practice gratitude are to think of three things every day that you are grateful for and then proceed to thank God for those things. If you are struggling, ask Him to show you some prayers that He has answered recently and remind you of the ways that He has provided for you. He will be faithful to bring to memory these things in your life.
These are only five of the many different ways that you can work on growing deeper in your faith and closer to God. God is always ready to grow nearer to you, He wants community with you and He will help you as you do your best to walk closer to Him.