Three days ago, I sat frustrated as I looked over at my marked up Journaling Bible. That thing is well loved, my friend. But, I didn't feel like loving it that day.
I was tired, not feeling well. Basically... a "hot mess." If you are human, you know the feeling!
So, how do we live a life devoted to God...when life happens? That's the answer all of us want the formula to. The quick answer is, there is no formula.
However, the Lord has given us so many graces. He helps us with Scripture, sermons, songs, and authors.
I am so thankful to share with you some of what I have gleaned. There may not be a formula, but it is possible to be devoted to God.
The amount of time you have, your ability to study the Bible, your amount of drive, your season of life, your emotional state, and anything else doesn't have to keep you from living a life totally dedicated to Christ.
Even though it may feel like it now, it just doesn't sis!
1. What If I Don't Have A Lot Of Time?
One of the lies we often believe is that our quiet-times must be at least 2+ hours long. I get it, we see those people that we admire and it seems like they are with the Lord 24/7... and they are married, with babies, and a business! Come on...that's so not realistic!
Spending time with God isn't about how much you can read, but about your actual time 'with' Him. 15 mins. 30 mins. 1 hour. What matters is that your mind and heart isn't focused on being proud of the fact that you did something really spiritual for a long time.
Time with God is ALL ABOUT GOD! You make time for what you love. So, He will be pleased with however much you can and will honestly offer to Him.
2. How Do I Study The Bible?
Truthfully, the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. Before we open our Bible, we should ask God to help us understand His Word and to teach us what He wants us to know that day.
While reading, asking questions and looking for glimpses of Jesus (even in the Old Testament) is always something that I find helpful. He is everywhere, sis!
Look for at least one way to apply what you learned and pray that God will help you to walk it out. Write it somewhere as a reminder. Those are somethings I do.
I was asked this question so often that I actually made a whole blog post on it, and I created a free printable to help. Check them out!
Also, there are so many different ways to study. So here are some methods that I have used and have loved. Gotta love YouTube, right? Just don't get lost in the 'YouTube-Swirl'
3. What Bible Should I Get?
I personally use the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible. I love it because it has wide margins. I also have an ESV Studying Bible, which is what I owned before this one. Let's be real, I have a bunch of Bible in many translations, So, just make sure it's not heretical!
4. How Can I Stay Driven, When I Get Tired In The Race?
It is normal to go through phases. The beginning of our walk with the Lord is usually a time where everything is so new that we want to learn fast. This new love drives us to keep running towards Christ.
But, then...sanctification, girl! The Christian walk is about knowing, loving, and becoming more like Christ. For that to happen, we have to go through trials... and sometimes our trials can throw off our drive.
"The difficulty is to keep a tight reign on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who are to rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the plane of the feelings, but of the will."
- Elisabeth Elliot
Actually, a lot of things can throw off our drive. Sin can definitely do so. First, check for sin. If you find sin, repent and follow again without condemnation.
If you are not sinning. Remember that getting tired and discouraged is not abnormal for believers. Take your eyes off of yourself and place them on Christ. Being a 'well-driven' person in today's society is applauded.
Well, in the Kingdom of God, sometimes He tells us to sit down! Jesus told Martha this very thing (Luke 10:41). We are to be led by the Spirit. If you keep showing up, He will put the fire of desire back. Until then, keep praying about it, and walk by your decision of love, not the feeling.
We will be forever learning how to become better devoted to God. I do know that we don't know it all! That's for sure.
I also know that we are safe if we place and trust our entire lives in God's loving hands, over and over and over again. If we do that and keep a constant gaze at Jesus, while listening to the Holy Spirit...we are on our way sister!
Our lives will be in the Hands of the Potter, our eyes will be on the Light, and our hears will be informed by the Teacher! This is where we should live. Yes, we will fail at times...Sanctification! But, Girl we get back up!
When we talk about being devoted to God, we must reference seasons. They change. We can't expect life to remain the same. And really think about it, would you really prefer your life stay as it is right now? Not I!
When we are stressed out, not only are we to ask for contentment, but we are to also recognize that seasons change...even spiritually. Seek to love God with all of your heart in this very season you are in right now!
I briefly mentioned this, but we have to continually remind ourselves of our weakness. Yes, this is counter-cultural. The world tells us how strong we are.
We can do anything, right? Nothing is impossible for us (out of context Scripture usage). Push, until we win! Oh... and 'Girl Power!' This may work for a short while but you will crash and burn.
Out of grace, God will allow it to happen. It is not safe for His children to have that much success in their pride. It's not glorifying to Him either!
And, you know what? If this is you, I hope you crash and burn quickly. I want you to go ahead and get the pain over with so that you can rest in His strength!
Our will is flat-out tiring, and it doesn't even work, sis. I know it doesn't! We not only ought-to, but we GET-TO depend on Him. It is a blessing!
CAN'T FORGET ABOUT THE ENEMY!
I'm not sure if you have thought about it before, but it sure would be convenient for the enemy to keep us from being devoted to God. God is our bread. He is our water.
He is our life! Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). If we claim His name to the world yet don't have His power, we are poor representatives.
"When the powers of darkness are arrayed against you, and aim to destroy your joy forever, nothing is more precious than to have the Word of God ready for the battle. The fight for joy is not for the unarmed."
- John Piper
Why would the world want to know a God like the poor followers they are seeing? You get it? Satan attacks the Body of Christ to take down the Kingdom.
This is not just between flesh and blood, sis. This isn't just about feelings. This is spiritual warfare! Naturally, I hate fighting. Really!
But we are soldiers of God. And we fight from victory. The war has already been won by Christ! But, we are still soldiers on a battlefield. Read Ephesians 6, and put your Armor on!
- Don't stress about time on the clock. Focus more on time 'with' God! It's all about Him.
- In quiet time, let the Spirit teach, look for glimpses of Christ, pray for the grace to apply what you learned. Check out the other resources listed!
- In dry places...remember satisfaction, possible sin, and the decision to love until the feelings come back.
- Keep placing your life in God's hands, eyes on Christ, and listen to the Spirit.
- Seasons Change, trust in every season.
- Depend on God's strength, not self
- This is Spiritual Warfare. Follow your Captain.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!