One last reminder about the Made to Crave giveaway... To win yourself one of two copies of the book or the DVD set, head on over to enter. Comments will be closed at noon today (that's MST) and a winner announced in my post tomorrow.
Sometimes, faith in God becomes a routine of faith activities lacking in a heart connection. We can "do" everything right: attend church, join a small group, do group Bible studies, do personal Bible studies, have daily quiet time, teach Sunday school, tithe, and more...yet still feel as though something is lacking.
Do you know what I'm talking about?
Seasoned Christians often refer to it as a time when God feels far away. Newer believers may describe it simply as not "feeling" God or not really knowing if He's real and working in their lives. Either way, there's a lingering emptiness inside.
So how can we get past that point and rediscover (or discover for the first time) a true, living, active, life-changing faith that comes from having a relationship with the one true God?
I'd like to suggest that there are two steps we can take that will ignite our faith, both in ourselves and in those around us. And teaching these things to our children could make the difference between them growing up with a real faith of their own.
The Holy Spirit
When we believe that Jesus is our Saviour (that the only reason we have a chance at a fulfilling life here and in eternity is because He chose to rescue us) and accept Him as our Lord (we decide to let Him be in charge of our lives), God fills us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us to guide us, to lead us, to counsel us, and to pray for us. The thing is, we don't always stay "filled up" - we leak!
If God is feeling distant, chances are good that we need to take some time to get refilled. My favourite way of filling back up is to pray a brief prayer, "Lord, fill me with Your Spirit," and then crank out some worship music and sing along with all my heart. Others may prefer a quieter, more reverent approach like meditating on a verse that's meaningful to them or listening prayer. Regardless of the approach, we need to ask for and expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The other thing we can do to fan the flame of our faith is get a little bit radical. While for some people radical might mean selling everything, living in a hut in Africa, and preaching the Good News, for most of us it's not nearly so wild. (Phew!)
In my life, radical means listening when I "hear" (sense in my spirit) the nudge of the Holy Spirit to do something. (Which explains why we need to get filled up first.) It's often a little something, a thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Like paying for the $5 of groceries belonging to a homeless man who's lined up ahead of me at the grocery store checkout. Or maybe volunteering to babysit for a friend in desperate need of a break. It's frequently as simple as turning the kids' and hubby's socks right-side-out as I put them in the laundry without complaining and/or delivering a lecture.
Radical is, by definition, revolutionary. For some of us, the only revolution we need to start is in our own hearts and homes.
If you're feeling a little faithless these days, if your walk with God has become routine (boring, even), I challenge you to try taking these two steps. Every day for one week, start your day by asking for the Holy Spirit to fill you up. Then go through the day ready to respond to those "nudges." At the end of that week, ask yourself if your faith feels more real.
I am willing to bet money (if I were a gambler and had money to bet) that your answer will not be no! How can I be so sure? Because it works for me, every single time I need a little personal revival.
Father, may we not become "dull" Christians with boring lives and little faith! Let us be women who are alive and on fire for you, so that we can in turn fire up those around us. Help us to teach our children, through example, how to have a relationship with you that is revolutionary. In Your Name, Amen.
"We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves." ~David Platt