Whether your relationship with God has been passionate, at a plateau or nonexistent in 2013, you can have a healthier and closer relationship with God in 2014! The great news is that it’s not just you that wants a closer relationship. God’s heart is towards you and has a constant desire to draw nearer to you. We simply need to DRAWN NEAR to him. So lets talk more about what that looks like as we finish out 2013 and head into 2014.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. - James 4:8
Below are 5 key mindset changes that have helped me grow my relationship with God and I hope they encourage you too:
- It’s about relationship not rituals: A major breakthrough in my walk with God came when I realized that I needed to pursue God as a relationship. There was a time when I thought I needed to “prove” my love for God by praying for an hour a day or never missing a time of reading my Bible every day. I had this weird thought that if I forgot to read my Bible than I’m a bad Christian. Which would make me feel shame which would push me away from God instead of to him. The truth is that reading your Bible doesn’t make God love you but it will show you how much God loves you. So please, take a deep breath stop trying to impress God and simply make it your goal to connect with God everyday.
- Bible: apply one thing, not everything: As you are reading a chapter in the Bible, don’t get overwhelmed by trying to understand or take-in everything you are reading, instead look for one of the verses that’s jumping out at you. Then take some time to reflect on that verse and even write down what you see and observe. Then pray about how you can apply that to your life. This strategy helps you better apply God’s word to your life and application really is what brings the transformation in your life. I first saw this concept in a Life Journal.
- Worship isn’t just for the choir: If you’ve only thought that singing to God happens in church, you are limiting a very powerful part of connecting with God that can happen on a daily basis. For me the fastest way to connect with God is through turning on some worship music and expressing my heart and love towards God. Worship is powerful! Not only can it set an atmosphere to connect with God but Worship has the power affect your circumstances. Get to iTunes and download the latest Hillsong Worship.
- The Holy Spirit, not wine & spirits*: I’m so thankful that Jesus gave us his Holy Spirit to be with us on earth when he went to heaven. I was filled me with the Holy Spirit when I was about 13, but I know that many Christians who love God, haven’t yet heard of or understood who the Holy Spirit is. I want to encourage you to search it out and seek out the Holy Spirit in 2014. It will bring a richness to your relationship with God and a power to your life that isn’t possible any other way. A great book on the Holy Spirit that I recommend is a new book by John Bevere - Holy Spirit, An Introduction. *I apologize for this section title; it was cheesy and uncalled for!
- Go to Church & be the Church: God designed us to be in community as believers. We actually cannot experience the fullness that He has for us on our own. Our value is found in our connection to the whole. So going to a church service is a great weekly habit to start or continue in 2014 but don’t just go to a Church, get connected and involved in the Church. One of the greatest ways to grow your relationship with God is get involved in doing and building what he’s building. When you serve and get involved it will take your whole life to the next level. Check out some great ways to get involved in serving our community through Champions Foundation. As a part of Champions Centre, I’ve heard story after story of people who finally decide to start getting involved and it transforms their life. If you don’t have a church you are a part of I’d love to see you join us locally in Tacoma or Bellevue or online at www.championscentre.com
I’m praying that in 2014 you experience God in a new way just like Paul prayed the Ephesians would experience:
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. - Ephesians 1:17-19
Key Resource to use in 2014: The Bible App: One of my favorite things over the last couple years has been to use the audio bible feature on the YouVersion Bible app. Almost every morning, I begin my day with plugging in my headphones and letting the Bible read to me. It may not work for everyone but it’s a great way for me to take in more of what I’m reading. They also have great reading plans and devotionals that help you develop a more consistent habit of getting into God’s word.