As an author, freelance writer, and speaker, most of what I write and speak about is God-centred. It may be a devotional book, a Bible study, parenting/family resources, or curriculum for raising up children to be adults who have a personal relationship with the LORD, but the majority of my work is Christian-based.
I tell you this as a disclaimer of sorts, for this article. Why? Because even though I write for the Christian market, when it comes to making Jesus the LORD and Savior of your life, there is no other book or resource of any kind more relevant or essential than the Bible.
The Bible gives us what are commonly referred to as spiritual disciplines. These are things Jesus instructs us to do in order to become a) more like him and b) closer to him. We’re going to take a quick look at nine spiritual disciplines and give you scripture references to study in order to help you make these things part of who you are.
Before we start I want to remind you of this one very important thing: Being a Christian is not something you do. Being a Christian is who you are. So if you’re looking for a to-do list to be able to check off as you go about your business, this list isn’t for you. You can treat it like that, but you won’t be doing yourself or anyone else any favors by doing so. This is the real deal. These are the things Jesus expects and even commands us to do in order to be one of the branches on his vine (John 15:1-5).
God cannot be the centre of your life unless you submit to him fully. God won’t play second-fiddle to anyone or anything. Just like you can’t be a little bit married, you can’t be a little bit Christian. You either are or you aren’t.
How do you submit to God? Acts 2:38; James 4:7; Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 10:26; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
Admit your sins to God. Ask his forgiveness and accept it with gratitude, thanksgiving, and humility. John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; 2 Peter 3:9; James 4:7-10; Psalm 1.
Know God’s Word, the Bible. You wouldn’t attempt to pass a class without studying the materials or take on a new job without knowing what is expected of you. Making Christ the centre of your life is no different in the fact that there are specific expectations, guidelines, and yes, even rules for doing so. God wants us to be wholly his, but he doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. He knows we can’t but he’s right there to help us out. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:11; Deuteronomy 11:18-23; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:11-17.
God gives each of us specific talents and spiritual gifts. Thankfully some of us receive the gifts of teaching, preaching and leadership. We all need these people in our lives to guide us in the process of maturing in our faith. And if you are one of those people who have one or more of these gifts, you need to make sure you are using it to help others because not only are you helping others, but in the process you are growing and maturing, as well. Romans 10:17; Hebrews 13:7; Philippians 4:9; Romans 10:14-15
You can’t have a relationship with anyone without strong, solid communication. Talk to Jesus who is the intercessor on our behalf to God. Tell him your heart’s desires, confess your sins to him, praise him, thank him, and pray on behalf of others.
Remember, though, prayer is about more than you talking to Jesus. Prayer is also about listening for Jesus to talk back to you. He will talk back to you through that little voice inside you which is the Holy Spirit. He will talk to you by putting scripture on your heart and in your mind. He will talk to you by sending others to encourage you, teach you, and hold you accountable. Philippians 4:6; John 15:7; Romans 8:26; Matthew 6:5-15; Jeremiah 33:3; Colossians 4:2; Jeremiah 29:12; Psalm 145:18-19; Psalm 55:17; Ephesians 3:14.
Here’s the thing about fasting…Jesus doesn’t say if we fast. He says when we fast. You know what that means, don’t you? It means it’s really not an option. But here’s something else you need to know about fasting. Fasting isn’t meant to be a punishment or to cause suffering from denial. The purpose of fasting is to shift your focus off of your own desires and wants and onto the fact that God is able and willing to fill the voids left by those things you fast from.
When you fast you should fast from something sacrificially, yet from something that is also realistic. In other words, fasting from liver and onions probably isn’t the least bit sacrificial and fasting from homework or going to work isn’t realistic. Fasting should also be done for the purpose of changing your attitude by realizing a greater dependency on God and less on yourself. 2 Samuel 24:24; Matthew 6:16-18; Psalm 69:10.
One of the best ways to get closer to God is to serve him. When you are involved in ministry of any kind you see God touching people’s lives, the miracles he still gives, the changed hearts of people, and the truth that God’s goodness is still present and active in the sinful world we live in.
When you serve you are also getting at least as much as you give in the way of inner-peace and happiness that comes from helping others. You experience real joy in the LORD, you use the talents and abilities God has given you for his glory and you are living out the Great Commission and the Golden Rule. Acts 20:35; Colossians 3:17; Philippians 2:1-4; James 2:18; Matthew 20:28; James 4:17; Galatians 6:10.
Everything we have belongs to God. Our bodies, our family, our money, our material possessions, our abilities, and even our very life belongs to God. As the creator of everything he can claim ownership. So in giving to God we are really sharing back with him. Sharing back is a huge test of faith for us. Our selfish, sinful nature instinctively wants to hold tight to what we have and try to get even more and more and more.
When we give back to God we are shouting at the top of our voices that we have faith in his promise to provide, care for, and bless us abundantly. Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Matthew 6:1-4; Malachi 3:10.
Giving credit where credit is due—that’s what worship is really all about. When you purposefully, willingly, and regularly worship on a daily basis in some way or another, God can’t help but be the centre of your life because you’ll be placing him in that place of deserved prominence.
You can worship God by singing to him, thanking him, recognizing his actions in your life and in the world around you, sharing the truth of who he is with others, and honoring his almightiness with your faithful obedience. Psalm 150:1-6; Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19.
Be disciplined. Be God-centred. Be whole.
~ By Darla Noble