"The moment the Holy Spirit has
quickened us to life in regeneration,
our whole being senses its kinship to God
and leaps up in joyful recognition."
But after some weeks, or perhaps months, we might find ourselves lacking in the joy or hope or love department. We may feel disconnected from the God who ravished our hearts at salvation. Now he seems like a God far off, like a Greek or Roman god watching from a mountain top, who cares little for us humans. How did we arrive at this deathly, dry place? How did we, as David discusses in the psalms, "lose the joy of our salvation?"
We need to build upon that first step and grow from baby believers
into mature believers by developing our spiritual muscles.
Many who receive Christ believe that they have arrived at the true end of their faith journey. They have received forgiveness and hope for eternal life, but in reality, receiving God's salvation is just the beginning of a rich and meaningful life in Christ. It's like the moment Dorthy sets the tip of her ruby slipper onto the yellow brick road--it's a first step. We need to build upon that first step and grow from baby believers into mature believers by developing our spiritual muscles. (Hebrews 6:1) Strong muscles will keep us on track and help us to avoid feeling distant from God. But how do we grow these muscles?
God is after both our hearts and our wills. He wants us to choose him and his ways, that is, to choose the things in life that will honor him and help us grow into strong Christians. So once we've chosen him, then we must choose his ways. What are they? Some of them include, prayer, reading scripture, obeying scripture, praise, worship, meditation on scripture, being still, reading Christian classics (like The Pursuit of God), and fasting. I call these personal spiritual disciplines. To this list I would add fellowship, telling others about the gospel, helping the poor & sick, and practicing gifts of the Spirit. These I call shared spiritual disciplines. (Yes, there is definite overlap between the two. And no, I haven't listed all the disciplines.)
So here's your assignment, your part in this little devotional. Find a scripture for each of the spiritual disciplines I've mentioned above (by all means, add to the list as you go along!), and tell how this discipline will help keep you close to God. Here's an example:
Psalm 66:17-18 I cried out to him with my mouth, his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened, but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me.
How it keeps me close to God
When I set myself apart for prayer and quiet my mind, I can have a real conversation with God
about what I'm thinking, how I'm feeling, what concerns me, who's bothering me, etc.
I can cry out to him like David does in Psalm 66. When I talk out loud to God, it seems like
I'm having a real conversation with him, and I feel closer. And when I call him, "Dad," I feel even closer.
When I take the time to pray regularly, it's almost impossible to feel completely distant from him.
And most of the time, I leave feeling as though we have connected,
and he has deposited something in my heart that makes me stronger.
I'd love to hear some of the scriptures you found.
Why not share the blessing with everyone in a comment below?
Bye for now,
Hi! My name is Diana Petrillo and I'm visiting from my blog, Adirondack Girl @ Heart, where I talk a lot about buying, fixing up, and selling vintage finds. But I also share a thought or two about my faith and things the Lord is teaching me. I call these my "FaiThoughts."