Caution: Long read, but so worth it! 🙂
Last week, I talked about being rooted. But what does that look like? Well, I hope to shed some light on that today. Let’s dive in.
A good place to start is with a word that causes some folks to break out in cold sweat– commitment. It is ‘the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose’ or ‘the act of binding yourself (intellectually and emotionally) to a course of action.’ Commitment is vital to any relationship we want positioned for success. In the case of Jesus, it is the difference between believing (a great first step) and following (the journey). Let’s get some context before the practical tips.
𝗔 𝗣𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗘𝗗 𝗦𝗘𝗘𝗗
I’ll say this. God’s word— the Good News, is life changing. His word, buried in our spirit produces life. Said differently, His word is a seed, the fruit of which is life. The life it wields is eternal. Which is to say, we have a lot to lose— life to be exact, if we are to let His word fall on footpaths for birds to eat, on shallow soil or among thorns (Mat. 13:4-7).
𝗙𝗘𝗥𝗧𝗜𝗟𝗘 𝗦𝗢𝗜𝗟 (𝗧𝘄𝗼-𝗪𝗮𝘆-𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗲𝘁)
This concept is straight forward. Any successful relationship needs two active participants. God, our faithful Father is true to His word, have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Jos.1:9). But this promise has to fall on fertile soil to produce the fruits of maturity, peace, joy, discernment— not being tossed to and fro by every wind of new teaching and deceived by lies that sound like truth (Eph. 4:14), and so forth. It begs the question, what are we giving Him? The caveat, seen in James 4:8 is all He wants, come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. A prideful posture, and half-assed attitude does not make the cut. The opposite, humility, and an all-in stance offers a heart malleable to the Holy Spirit, who leads us into ALL truth (John 14:16), gives us more understanding and an abundance of knowledge (Mat. 13:12). I can’t say it better than Jesus, remain in me and I will remain in you (Mat. 15:4).
We understand that He is the vine, and we are the branches (Mat. 15:1). To put this another way, He is our source and sustenance. Thus, much in the same way a lamp shuts off if unplugged and results in darkness, a life cut off from its source leads to death. When we stay connected to God, we ourselves become light. We are fruitful and multiply, carrying His presence into every conversation, room, and situation. The fruits of His word are seen in how we conduct ourselves i.e., peace amid raging seas. Now, this part is difficult for us to accept, but it is perfectly okay to be ‘othered’ for Jesus. It is to be expected because we are in fact set apart for Him. However, it also presents opportunities to talk about Him. After all, we can only testify about what we are witness to. There is much to be seen and experienced deeply rooted in Him. In essence, buried in Him is where we are set to bloom (resurrection life).
I hope this all makes sense (if not, let’s talk! 😅). Now unto my tips, listed in chronological order.
I should add that these are not fixed in stone. Take what jumps out at you, go forth and prosper!!
Tip: Have a ready-to-go playlist of worship songs to usher you into His presence. I have a growing list of songs (somewhere in the 500s) on Spotify but have a few favorited for this purpose. The quick access makes for an easy transition and a smoother process. Up for grabs to the first reader (lol) is a suggested name for your playlist, Quiet Streams.
Tip: Don’t be so religious that you lose relationship. God isn’t looking for performance. Poised antics are wasted effort. Let loose in His presence, respectfully of course. There is no safer place to be you than with Him. Prayer is about communication. It is also a petition. You get His attention with a humbly postured heart, and His words. What I am saying is we can pray powerful and effective prayers in 10 minutes by praying God’s word. For example, I often say this prayer before I start my quiet time, dear Father, I bless your holy name. I am here for you, to seek you as you have asked. As I study your word, open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions (Psalm 119:18). And at the end of our prayer, let’s be boldly assured like Jesus and say, Father, thank you for hearing me (John 11: 41).
𝙼𝚢 𝙱𝚒𝚋𝚕𝚎 (𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘴)
Tip: Study with purpose. Search His word with curious exploration. Have an expectation. My Bible does not look pretty. It is stained with the markings of a zealous explorer. As far as I am concerned, the white space is for what pours out of our hearts— insights, questions, references, and exclaimed expressions. There are a whole lot of ‘what!’ ‘Wow!!’ and ‘okay, that’s savage’ penciled in the boarders of my Bible. This is YOUR experience of God. It is PERSONAL. His voice is consistent in truth but expressed differently to everyone. He meets us where we are. OPEN your Bible, let His spirit lead.
Tip: Gwash I hope I don’t lose you here. If it is not said enough, fellowship is important. The bible is replete with words that encourage togetherness. We must look out for each other. Pray about it FIRST. Get in a bible believing community. If you don’t have one already, or consider yourself shy, start with 1 bible believing person. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Eccl. 4:9). I cannot adequately express how helpful it has been to have people in my corner lifting me up in prayer, encouraging me in God’s word, and lovingly guiding me back to the Father’s heart when I stray.
Tip: Please make it a habit to journal. It is highly therapeutic to purge. The method you choose is based on preference. I love writing but have also on occasion used audio notes. Journaling cleans out old gunk and unclogs our pipes. It promotes clear mindedness. I also believe God is always communicating with us. With how busy life gets, it helps to make notes. We may not get back to it right away, but it is not lost, just waiting to be unpacked. How about this. Commit to journaling for 21 days and lets reconvene to discuss. I would love to hear your feedback.
The Good News never gets old. Never. You have free rein to binge on it. There are no side effects. Except of course you consider being built up in love and grace to be bad. 🤔 Oh another thing, live on the edge. These tips do not need to be done chronologically. A praise dance in the bathroom stall is wonderful, as is praying in the shower, or meditating on a scripture you wrote on the palm of either hand. Be disciplined, not rigid. Be committed, not boring. BE CREATIVE. God will reward you as you seek Him. He is your reward.
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