Archive for June, 2012

  Growing Closer to God

June 24, 2012

Image  What will I do today to increase the depth of my personal inner relationship with God?  A nearness to God will not just happen.  I have to will myself closer to Him.  He will help me.  I must believe that. Then I must act. 

I must control my thoughts.  My goal will be for every thought to center around Jesus.  Everything that I do, I will be aware that I am able to do this because of the grace of Jesus.  I will cultivate positive thoughts about Christ.  He has saved me.  He strengthens me.  He will never forsake me.  Every moment that I am self-aware, Christ is aware of me and loves me.  I will remind myself of this constantly. 

I must pay close attention to what I am doing.  I can lapse into sin if I am not watchful.  I will remember the words of Jesus to watch and pray lest I enter into temptation.  I will think of myself as a Christian and how others are watching my way of life and that I have an opportunity to influence them for Christ.  I will concentrate on what I think, say, and do each moment.  I must look like Jesus to the world because He dwells in me. 

I will constantly pray.  I can say numerous short prayers.  I can even repeat the same brief prayer over and over.  Remember Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying the same thing each time.  I will take time for longer prayer.  I will pray with mental effort.  I may be physically tired when I complete a longer prayer. 

I will mediate on God’s word.  I will repeat a Bible phrase I find particularly helpful over and over.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, for instance. Or, God is love.  I will improve my knowledge of God’s word, and thus its practical usefulness in my personal life, by regular Bible reading. 

I will depend on Jesus and the strength He promises to provide.  I will pray for help to that end and I will make my own concerted effort. 

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:13-17 NKJV)

 

Christ the Pattern

June 23, 2012

Image  I will never influence anyone for Christ if I do not have a personal relationship with Him.  I will never become what God created me to become if I do not have a deep personal relationship with Him.  I could keep going with thoughts like these.  I will never be anything apart from knowing God and a minute by minute striving to be like Him. 

My striving goes beyond being baptized, though it starts with that.  It goes beyond attending church services, though it includes that.  It seems often that we equate faithfulness with church attendance.  That just scratches the surface.  If I am content with showing up for an assembly three times a week, I will never know God.  I know God, I become like Him, when I become like the pattern He showed us for the perfect man.  That pattern is Christ. 

My constant thought, effort, prayer, energy, emotion, and being must be consumed by the desire to be just like Jesus Christ.  He is the pattern.  If I can fight and submit, believe and act, focus on and embrace, cling to and adore – Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Perfect God and Perfect Man – then I shall be what God made me to be. 

I must kill the world in my life.  I must annihilate it.  This world is not my home.  I am truly just passing through.  I am a pilgrim.  The sooner I learn and accept that, the sooner I will begin to make progress in becoming more and more like Jesus. 

My mission is to be like Jesus.

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)