So you have found Jesus (or you are thinking about it).....
This is a question I get asked frequently in emails. I'm questioned by people who are on a path to find Jesus or have recently been saved or maybe have been a Christian for years but it's never gone past the initial stage of salvation.
How do you grow your faith? How do you love Jesus so much? What do I need to do?
(I am not a minister. I am not a seminary graduate. I am not a theologian. I'm just a girl who is passionate for her Saviour.)
1. READ THE BIBLE
I don't know any way to grow your faith or know God better than to read His word. The Bible is not an outdated document. It is the inherent word of God. It is words written by man given by God so we can know Him. I have learned to love God's word more with each passing year. It is so alive to me right now I can't get enough of it!
I know it's hard to read. (Especially Leviticus).
But there is SO MUCH Richness in it. The Old Testament can be difficult but it is better than any soap opera you can ever watch. The things that happened are amazing. If you are a new Christian or one who has not really read the Bible - start with the New Testament. Read Matthew - John. Then read Romans. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Then start again and read the New Testament through. Also read a chapter of Psalms a day. Then go back and read the OT.
Don't just read the Bible trying to race through. If you have to - just read a couple of verses a day but really think about what they mean. Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts and date them. Write down your prayers and date them. Years later you can go back and read and see for yourself where God has taken you. DON'T BE AFRAID TO WRITE IN YOUR BIBLE!! In fact - get a new one every year or two and MARK IT UP! The word can come alive to you!
My favorite version right now is the ESV Bible. I bought a Crossway Journal Bible this year and I love it because it has a big margin on both sides and I can write there as I read. I also love NIV and NASB.
There are bible apps like You Version you can download and read wherever you are. So there is NO excuse!!
Another great Bible app that's new and FREE is the Logos App. It will help you study the Bible more in depth.
I know praying seems intimidating when you haven't done much of it. But the Bible tells us over and over to pray to Him. If you want an easy way to pray......use this format.
A - Adoration Tell God what you love about Him. How He is your peace, your friend, your father, your provider.......... Praise Him!
C - Confession Confess your Sins to God.
T - Thanksgiving Tell God what you are thankful for
S - supplication (or intercession) This is when you bring your request to God - for you or for others.
And NOTHING is too big or too small to pray to God for.
Nothing is too big or too small to thank Him for either.
3. Read books that can grow your faith.
There are SO many great Christian authors out there. I don't even know how to start making a list for you. And the one thing I would quickly remind you is that pastors and Christian leaders are HUMAN. Don't put your faith in them.
Learn from them. But don't put them in the place of God.
(and I'm friends with a lot of these Christian authors and leaders so I know I can say this - they would agree with me. They are amazing but at the end of the day nothing replaces the word of God.)
Right now most of Beth Moore's books on Kindle are FREE!!!!!! If you need just one book to read -
download "Believing God." TODAY! (also "Jesus the One and Only", "To live is Christ", "Breaking Free") Ya'll - If you have a kindle - GET THESE BOOKS TODAY!!!!
A few more I love are :
"Follow Me" by David Platt
"Crazy Love" by Francis Chan
"Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer
"What every Christian Ought to Know" by Adrian Rogers
4. Listen to Christian Music
The old saying of "garbage in, garbage out" is so true. If you start filling your heart and mind with God's word and Christian music - your life is going to be different. I PROMISE that.
Download some music or buy a few CD's and play them in your car as your drive or in your home or as you sit in your office and work.
Let praising God be like breathing.
All Sons and Daughters
These are just a few I love.
5. Find someone to Disciple/Mentor You
Look for a mature, Godly Christian and ask them if they will disciple you. Let them be your accountability partner. Pray together. Study a book together. Every Christian needs to be discipled.
6. Join a church and GET INVOLVED
I'm going to do a follow up post on this topic but it's so important to be in a body of believers. It is NOT ENOUGH to fill a pew on Sundays. We are the hands and feet of Christ and we need to serve. But the first step is to begin to visit churches and find one that preaches the Bible and where you feel comfortable. I will do a more detailed post on this next week.
7. Surround yourself with uplifting friends
YES - you can and should have non-Christian friends. But it's also important to surround yourself by Christian friends who uplift you, pray for you and help you to make wise choices. I can tell you right now that if in college or as a young adult - if the majority of my friends had been making bad choices - I would have gone right along with them and my life would completely different. God was merciful to give me friends who would help me in my Christian walk. Even now as a 40 year old mother - I am thankful for other women who encourage me to teach my children about Christ and to serve others with them and to pray for me and with me. It really does make a world of difference what company you keep.
8. Look for God
This is how you begin to grow your faith. Look for God. As I have gone through trials in my life - that is where I really felt God the most. When I was struggling with infertility - I read Psalms over and over and cried out desperate to God. When Harper was sick, we CLUNG to Him.
I fight terrible anxiety daily. It is a DAILY struggle for me to say each morning "God is in control. And I trust Him."
The more you read His word and pray, the more you will begin to see how He is working in your life. The more you sing Praises to Him and worship - the more your love for Him will grown.
It's a daily walk.
But He is there walking right beside you.