This is the third part in a series about how to live out the Spiritual Disciplines. Read part one here and part two here.
The third discipline that helps us grow in our relationship with God is
Connecting with God through Encouraging Believers
When is a time you were inspired to live for the Lord or a time when you were encouraged to trust God more?
I have a friend Leah who I love to get together with and talk about what God’s been teaching us and dream about things we could do to make Jesus known. Like this last week we spent time dreaming about how to share the Gospel with unreached people on Facebook. Every time I leave a conversation with Leah I am motivated and hopeful for taking the next step the Lord has put before me of making Him known.
Hebrews 3:13 and 10:24 are such clear explanations for us on what fellowship/community really are. It's encouraging, spurring, prodding, pushing each other to run after the Lord and use our gifts for building His kingdom rather than our own. It's coming alongside each other and helping each other through temptation, exposing lies and serving alongside each other for God's glory.
When this kind of community exists, it's beautiful. There's authenticity and vulnerability. Iron is sharpening iron and the world can see that Jesus is Lord.
Ideas of how to Connect with other believers with a busy schedule:
* Text a friend a prayer request or ask them what you can pray for them.
* Text a friend a verse to encourage them.
* Join a Bible study (and get a babysitter)
* Invite people over for a meal and make a point to pray for them and ask God to show you what to make sure to say to them.
*Be intentional to ask people what God’s been doing in their life and what He’s been teaching them. Ask what they dream of doing for Christ and what they’d like to do and are currently doing to serve Him.
And the final discipline that helps us grow in our relationship with God is
Connecting with God through Sharing the Gospel.
It's kind of weird to think that we grow by sharing the Gospel, but get this, "I pray that you will be active in sharing your faith that you might know every good thing you have in Christ." Philemon 6
When we step out of our comfort zone and trust the Lord to do what only He can do in changing hearts we get to see Him use our faith. The more we trust God, the more we trust God. When we step out and do scary things for God's glory He comes through and we get to be wow-ed by Him.
Evangelism is pretty much one of the scariest things we can do on a regular basis. And ironically it's one of the easiest disciplines to justify our way out of doing by believing simple lies, "Share with actions and if necessary use words", "I don't know enough", "I don't want to push people further away", "I need to befriend someone first". All these are contrary to Scripture but can be so easy to hold on to.
Reality is, we can't really grow much in our relationship with God if we aren't willing to talk about the most important thing in our life with people. If we are disobedient in this thing, it spreads like gangrene to other parts of our heart and mind and poisons our faith and feeds our doubt.
Ideas of places to start spiritual conversations and share the Gospel in your everyday busy life:
* Have a few questions ready. i.e. What has been your experience with Jesus? Have you ever wondered about eternity? Would you consider yourself a good person?
* Invite non-believers over for a meal.
* Start a conversation with other moms at kids sports/activities.
* Message someone on facebook rather than scroll your feed.
* Make a Facebook Ad for the Jesus film or other evangelistic video and point it to other countries.
* Invite people you meet (even at Wal-mart or a restaurant) to church and ask them what they thought and then use your questions to get to the Gospel.
If you are not trained in sharing the Gospel, I highly recommend The Way of the Master as it will build your courage and confidence in stepping out in faith.
The Main Thing: Reliance on the Holy Spirit
We can do a lot of things that look great on the outside but "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." Psalm 127:1 We can do nothing of eternal significance, including manufacturing our own growth without remaining dependent and yielded to the Lord.
The way we depend on/rely on the Lord is really pretty simple. It's also not a feeling or experience we have with the Holy Spirit, rather it's a choice. A simple heart act of confess and surrender, the same way you surrendered your life to Christ in the first place. A simple, "I know I need you, please do this through me" or "I can't do this without you, help Lord." I just love how blatant Paul is in describing the Spirit-filled life, "Oh foolish Galatians who has bewitched you? Having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 Here's a helpful diagram that talks more about the Spirit-filled life and can help you explain it to others.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us and intentionally give time to these four essential growth elements the Lord brings about beautiful life transformation.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries since 2002 and serve with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, A Devotional Journey through Judges, and Discover God's Calling for Your Life. Most recently her resource for Bible studies, The Connect Cards was released by Cru Press. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site.