The Westminster's Shorter Catechism begins with this question and answer: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As believers, our number one priority in this life is our relationship to God. Our lives should bring glory to Him.
Imagine a bride-to-be...planning her wedding and preparing to be her fiance's bride. The first thing she thinks about upon waking is her betrothed. As she gets dressed she wonders if the outfit she is selecting will please him when she sees him later in the day. As she eats, she wonders what he's eating for breakfast. As she styles her hair she remembers that he said that he likes it when she wears her hair up, so she styles it that way. As she puts on her makeup she remembers that he really liked it when she used the lavender eye liner. So, of course, she uses the lavender eye liners. And then there's the earrings he gave her, she has to wear them again today since she's going to be seeing him...and she can't wait! Oh how she wishes she could spend time with him first thing in the morning instead of having to wait all the way until his lunch break at work!
Did you know that Paul tells us in the Bible that the relationship of believers to Christ is like that of a bride to a bridegroom? We, the body of believers, are waiting for Christ to return and take us to His home. He is our bridegroom. Are you preparing for Him each day? Are you growing more in your love for Him each day? Do you think about what pleases Christ when you make decisions about how you use your time, how you dress, how you eat, what you talk about? We, as believers saved by His paying the price for us through His death, should live that way!
But how can we do this? What does it look like in the average day?
|this artwork is by an artist who hides the word "Jesus" somewhere in the painting |
- check out her other works, they are amazing!
In the book "A Woman after God's Own Heart" Elizabeth George talks about the Seven Sacred Pools in Hawaii. There are several pools with waterfalls in between each pool, the water dropping into one pool and then leaves that pool and fills the next pool lower down. Our lives are like that waterfall. Our first pool needs to be filled before we can fill the next one, and so forth. Our first pool is our relationship with God! We need to be filled with love for Him and from Him first and foremost! In order to fill that pool, we have to put God first in our life and that takes work. It takes dedication and determination.
I have tried to have a time with God every day since I became serious about seeking God's will for my life way back in high school. I have not always succeeded, and there have been long spells when I hardly ever had a regular time to meet with my Lord, read His word and talk with Him. Until I read Elizabeth George's book I had not really committed myself to doing it daily. I did it when it worked out, and at times I'd be consistent for a few weeks or months, but then the pressures of life would squeeze out that time - "I don't have time today to meet with God, He must understand because He knows how long my "to do" list and how little sleep I've been getting". But this time is critical!
When I was in school I would try to do it before going to sleep at night - so many times I'd awake during the night and find my Bible lying on the bed next to me and I would have no recollection of what I read, and obviously I did not remain awake long enough to talk with God after He talked to me (through His word). So I have always tried to do it in the morning. But in order to do this you have to wake yourself up early enough to take the time, especially if you have to be somewhere at a certain time that day, or to be awake before your children wake up and the demands of the day rush up to you. Elizabeth George says to "beat the kids up" - no, do not beat your children, but beat them to waking! Get up before they do! Yes, there are nights where a young mother might get very little sleep, and for her health she needs to sleep as late as the children do, but she still needs to find time to start her day with God. Maybe set the children up with their breakfast and sit at the table and read to the children! Or have your Bible lying where you sit to nurse your baby and the first time you nurse your Baby, read the Bible and pray. Make it work for you.
A relationship takes time, it takes work, it takes commitment. If you have a friend and you never talk with them, or listen to them, how good if your friendship?
Reading the Bible is listening to God - hearing what He says about how to live your life. You can read a portion of scripture, or use a "Read Through The Bible in a Year" Bible to guide your reading, or use a Bible study book to help you apply the Bible to your life. Memorizing scripture is a great way to internalize God's truths and it will help you apply it in your life. When you find a passage that really speaks to you or helps you to know what God's will for you is, memorize that passage. I've just started memorizing scripture for the first in years and it's not as hard as I thought it would be, and the passage I memorized years ago are still lurking around in my mind and come into my thoughts when I need them!
Praying is talking with God. Usually you do all the talking, but many times while I am praying I will think of something important I need to do, or maybe further understanding about what I was reading, or maybe I'll be asking for help with a problem and suddenly I'll think of the solution to that problem. That is God talking to me! I just had this yesterday. In the morning I was thinking about my desire to start a new blog, but couldn't decide what to use as the subject matter - I have so many things I like to do or like to talk about. So as I was working on my laundry, I started to pray and ask God to show me what He wanted me to write about, and within seconds I remembered the talk I gave last spring at a mother-daughter tea about mother's and daughters walking side by side. And then I knew I needed to start a blog to share my heart with my daughters, teaching them to be women of faith. So this very blog is the result of hearing God's answer to my prayer while I was still praying about it!
Learning from someone else is also a great way to grow in your faith. For many women, spending time with a wise, godly woman isn't something we can do on a regular basis, but many wise, godly women have written books that can teach us many things! That's how I have learned the bulk of how to apply God's word in my life! Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Elliot, Michelle Duggar, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Stormie Omartian are a few authors who have impacted my life in the past few years. Be careful in choosing the authors you study under, as not all Christian authors are doctrinally sound, many are worldly and fall into the category of teachers who lead others astray from the pure gospel. 2 Timothy 4:3 speaks of this: "For the time will come when people will not up up with sound doctrine, Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears way from the truth and turn aside to myths."
Lastly, it can be very helpful to have an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who commits to meeting with you (in person or by phone) on a regular basis, which can be once a week, once a month or whatever works for both of you, to encourage one another and pray for each other and hold each other accountable. I have been doing this for over 2 years now and it has been so helpful for me. I tell her what I want to be held accountable for, and she shares her desires for spiritual growth with me. We pray for each other as often as possible regarding each other's struggles. Knowing that she is praying for me, and that sometime soon I will be sharing with her how successful I have been in having a regular time with my Lord helps me to stay on track! Ask the Lord to show you who would be a good accountability partner for you and ask that person if she would be willing to do this with you! You won't regret it!
Once you are filling your heart and mind regularly with the things of God, and taking time to talk with Him, your spiritual pool will fill up to overflowing. That overflow will spill out into your relationships in your family. But that is for my next letter.
I pray that what I have shared with you will enable you to become dedicated to spending time regularly with Him who died for you, and in so doing that you will be filled with the love of God and that it will bring glory to Him and bless all who know you.
With all my Love,