Alright. So let us talk for a moment about the foundations on which faith is built. To draw nearer to God I believe that we have to focus on three things. Only three? Yes, but do not be fooled these three things are challenging to take on. They are as followed:
- Reading the bible
- Reaching out
Prayer is important because it is your own personal way of communicating with God. It is hard at first but as you learn to trust God and be vulnerable with Him, it starts to become second nature. My biggest struggle when I started out as a Christian was praying to God. This was because I wanted to control myself and my surroundings instead of letting go and giving everything to God. It was stressful for me when I did not pray because I would be plagued by my worries. I realized that when I placed my worries at God’s feet and relinquished all to Him, man did it feel amazing; I felt free and just open. Fast forward to the present, I find it hard to go a day without praying to God. It has gone beyond praying over worries; I talk to God about EVERYTHING. I thank Him for helping me make it to class on time; I thank Him for loving and encouraging me; I thank Him for the challenges He puts me through. You get the gist. How does one improve in their prayer life? Simple, you pray about it and God will surely help.
Colossians 4:2 (NIV): Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Reading the bible comes easy to me out of the three fundamentals. As a writer I enjoy reading because it inspires me with topics, themes, and ideas to write about. So when I started in my faith I read the bible more often than I prayed. While reading the bible was great I was lacking closeness to God because I was not fully communicating with Him. Allow me to expand. A friend once told me that reading the bible is like hearing what God has to say and praying is talking to God. So we pray and we stay in the word. We talk to God and He listens. We read the bible in which we see God’s response. So in that way prayer and reading the bible go hand in hand; you cannot sustain your faith on one without the other.
Revelation 22:9-10 (NIV): I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and all of who keep the word of this book. Worship God! Then he told me, “Do not seat up the words of the prophecy of this book because the time is near.”
Reaching out. Evangelizing. Witnessing. Sigh. Where can I start? I struggle to reach out because of fear, anger, and lack of faith. I fear what people on my college campus will think of me as I try to share my faith with them. I fear labels like “Jesus freak” or “Jesus girl” and I fear persecution. The bitter truth is that these things will happen when I share my faith; persecution will come. I am learning how to fear God and not man; how to base my confidence in God because He is the truth and I will answer to Him when that day comes. I would rather be ostracized by man than be denied by God.
Romans 1:16 (NIV): I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Next I am filled with anger toward people. Before I was a Christian I really did not love others. I believed that people were stupid and not worth my time. God calls me to have a complete opposite heart toward others. He calls me to love my neighbors and my enemies as I love myself. He calls me to be compassionate and have grace, which is so hard. I continue to pray for God to teach me how to have the heart toward people like Jesus did. Finally I lack faith. I tend to walk by sight instead of by faith. When I am rejected by a person, which has happened a lot, I become discouraged and I start to believe that they are a hopeless cause. I forget that God plants the seed and in His time the seed will flourish and yield fruit.
Mark 4:26-27 (NIV): This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does no know how.
Lately I have challenged myself to reach out to a person daily. God has truly shown me my heart in the process. I have to push through as he refines my character. I realize that reaching out and sharing my faith confirms my relationship with God. I do it because I want to share with others this amazing treasure that I have found; the kingdom of God.
Matthew 13:44 (NIV): The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.