“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
If you have been in worship this fall, you know we are using “connection cards” each week. These cards help us to connect with guests, and with our friends and members through some basic contact information. But they also serve another important purpose. You have probably heard me say,” please turn your connection card over and mark the next step in your spiritual journey,” following the message in worship. We should always be taking that next step in our journey with Jesus. If we aren’t intentionally moving forward, we tend to drift backward. Have you grown in your spiritual life this past year? Are you following Jesus more closely? Are you showing your love to God and neighbor more regularly?
God has given us a tool box full of tools that will help us grow spiritually. For example, God has given us the gift of worship which keeps us connected to God, and helps us to fix our eyes on Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews advises. As we worship, we refocus our lives around Jesus, and think about our lives from God’s perspective.
Another tool God gives is His indwelling Presence through the Holy Spirit. As we listen for the Spirit’s voice, we receive guidance, we are convicted of sin so that we can then get rid of it by confessing and turning Godward, and we receive encouragement and strength to continue our journey with Jesus.
God has also given us His Written Word, the Bible. As Paul tells his young friend Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) God’s Word is powerful. In fact the Holy Spirit, often uses that particular tool to guide us and work transformation in our lives.
And one more very important tool, is the Church. We need each other if we are to continue to mature in our discipleship. We need not only a connection with God but with other followers of Jesus. As we take time to pray together and study God’s Word together and serve together, we grow in faith.
Tools are only helpful if we actually use them. Let me encourage you to take some time to write down a plan for using each of the tools God had put at our disposal. For example you could make a resolution to be in worship 3 out of 4 Sundays a month, or commit to spending 20 minutes a day in Bible study and prayer, or commit to being part of a small growth group in the coming year. (One of my goals for our church is to get those growth groups started by next fall).
My Challenge to you for 2017 is this: keep moving forward in your spiritual journey, by using the tool’s in God’s tool box to keep growing your Christian faith and life!
See you in worship Sunday Mornings at 10:00!!
Grace and Peace,