As students are preparing for a new school year, I couldn’t help but think of what preparations (or ways to be better equipped) are needed on our spiritual walks in following Christ. It’s too easy to shift to cruise control and let complacency take over. If you feel like you’re in a rut, here are a few suggestions to keep you moving forward with intentionality in your walk.
Examine your heart. It’s really easy to focus on what is seen on the outside and completely ignore what cannot be seen, but the condition of our hearts impact our behaviors and actions (Luke 6:45). It’s also easy to see the faults in others rather than addressing our own issues (Matt. 7:3). Instead of deflecting or making excuses, answer this question honestly: Are you in a right relationship with God? Remember, if there is sin that needs to be addressed, then repent of it (Isaiah 57:15, Acts 3:19, and 1 John 1:9).
Have a solid foundation. On this walk, there are temptations, traps, and obstacles. In the midst of hardships, do we crumble and fall or do we stand firm (Matt. 7:24-27)? The Lord is our strength (Psalm 46:1) and gives us strength (Isaiah 40:29- 31). We need a solid foundation rooted in Christ (Col. 2:6-7). Meditate upon the Word (Joshua 1:8, and Psalm 1:2-3). Be in prayer (Phil. 4:6, and 1 Thes. 5:17).
Grow in Christ. Transformation is meant to be a continual process where we are being shaped and molded by God (Isaiah 64:8). Be humble (Phil. 2:3-8). It is time to move past just milk and on to solid food (1 Cor. 3:2-3, and Heb. 5:12-14).
Know your mission. Before Christ ascended, He gave us a final charge to be His witness (Acts 1:8). We have been told to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Part of making disciples is being a disciple. Follow Christ (Matt. 16:24). Encourage and sharpen one another (1 Thes. 5:11, and Prov. 27:17). Love God and others (Mark 12:29-31). Seek God (Deut. 4:29, Psalm 63:1, and Matt. 6:33). And remember, we are victorious in Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
Stay strong and persevere. On our walks, we will encounter obstacles and hardships. But recognize that these hardships shape our character as we trust in Christ (Rom. 5:3-5). As we go through hard times, be in the encouragement and prayers of other believers and make sure we throw out anything that may hinder us (Heb. 12:1). Your work for God is not done in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
Seek God’s guidance. Trust God with all of our hearts and seek His guidance (Psalms 25:4-5, 31:3, and Prov. 3:5-6). Christ has called us, and we need to answer that call with obedience and perseverance (Acts 20:24). There is often a mistaken idea that God’s way will come without any struggles. Paul shares his travel plans and tells us that a door has been opened for him, only to immediately say that there are also many adversaries (1 Cor. 16:9). Seek God’s guidance, obey His call, and persevere through the obstacles and struggles on any road that God leads you on. God provides (Phil. 4:19).
Be thankful, and give God the glory. Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:18). God is good and his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 106:1). Only God deserves our praise and worship (Isaiah 42:8). Give Him the glory and praise (1 Chron. 16:28-29, and 1 Cor. 10:31).
I provided multiple Scripture references and encourage you to take the time to examine some of them further during your personal devotional time. As you examine your walk, in what area would you most like to grow? Be in prayer about it, and actively work on it.