In today’s tremendously tempting environment, it is important not to be a spiritual wimp. Maintaining a consistent walk with the Lord requires great spiritual strength.
Here are my Top Ten Ways To Grow Strong In The Lord. However, because this Top Ten is very difficult to rank, I’m not going to put them in any particular order.
* Begin to obey your conscience. God has given you an inner guide. Use it. Don’t ignore the voice of your conscience. Anybody can do that. However it takes great guts to obey your conscience rather than society. Be a woman or man of valor who thinks, says, and does the right things; not the popular, easy, or convenient things.
* In a kind, loving way, openly live, demonstrate, and talk about your faith. Every chance you get, testify about what Jesus has done (and is doing) in your life. (Tim Tebow is a great example of this one as the NFL’s New York Jets and their fans will soon find out.)
* Hang out with people who love Jesus and obey Him more than you do. Spend as much time as possible with them. Be open and honest with them about your struggles. Gradually, you will become like the people you choose to hang around.
* Avoid temptation. Don’t watch or read anything that causes temptation to rise up in you. Don’t hang around people who tempt you. When you find yourself in a tempting situation, run away from it as quickly as possible. Be the missionary rather than the mission field. Rather than allowing people to tempt you to sin; by your words and behaviors tempt them to fall in love with and obey Jesus Christ.
* When you fall, have the courage to get right up. When you sin, stop. Immediately ask God to forgive you. Also ask whoever you have offended to forgive you. Receive God’s forgiveness. Refuse to wallow in guilt and condemnation. Then obey Jesus’ words: “Go and sin no more.”
* Read the Bible, especially the New Testament, at least 5 minutes every single day. Do it until it becomes an automatic daily thing. Read it with an open heart more than with an inquisitive mind. Let the Word go deeply into your heart and convict you of where you need to change. Let it inspire you to grow closer to God. Obey what God tells you to do as you read the Bible.
* Seek out and spend time with broken, humble, disenfranchised people — the poor, the discouraged, the depressed, the rejected, the neglected. Love them, serve them, encourage them, share with them, embrace them as equals, openly share your love for Jesus with them, let them help you, build strong, mutual friendships with them.
* Pray with people, not just for them. Do this every chance you get. When someone tells you about a problem or a need that they have, ask: “May I pray with you.” (Most people will say yes, however, if they say no, that’s no problem; just tell them that if they ever want prayer you will be happy to pray with them.) If they say yes, bow your head and begin to talk to God and ask Him to help the person. (I usually hold their hands.) Words will flow from your heart and both you and her/him will be touched by the real presence of God’s Spirit.
* Receive the ability to pray in God’s supernatural languages. The Bible calls this “speaking in tongues.” It is an amazing and life-transforming spiritual experience. It is described in Acts chapters 2, 10, & 19 and also in I Corinthians chapter 14. When I pray in tongues, I am immediately filled with awe as I sense the power and Presence of Jesus. Once you receive this ability, use it through out the day, everyday.
* Learn to hear God’s voice. Listen to what He speaks to you. Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice.” If you are a genuine believer, you can hear Jesus talk directly to you. Pay close attention to what He tells you. Receive His comforting words to you. Courageously obey His instructions. Even let Him tell you things about yourself that you would rather not hear.
Here’s a great quote from Paul of Tarsus: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
3 Bonus ways:
* Continually repeat this ancient prayer (known as The Jesus Prayer) in your mind and out loud: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
* Fast. Spend time not eating food to focus on praying, seeking God, and hearing His voice. A fast can be for part of a day, a day, several days, or even a week or more.
* Get involved in a church that offers active involvement more than passive listening. When you listen to someone else talk about the Lord you tend to forget most of what you hear, however, when you, yourself, begin to talk and share about the Lord, you begin to grow strong. There is a Nashville church that meets based on open sharing and participation — The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center. Check it out: Sunday Participatory Bible Study @ 9:30 am. — Sunday Sharing & Testimony Meeting @ 10:45 am. — Thursday Night Spirit-Led Prayer Meeting @ 6:30 pm — 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207.
Check out my new book, Beyond Church — An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible — Ekklesia; available at Amazon.