We are one-third of the way through 2016. This year in our church we have been focusing on being stronger spiritually as individuals and as a church family. For our church family, I pray that you have been seeing some growth. And for those of you everywhere else, I pray you also will know spiritual health and strength in your life. Over these four months we have been seeking to be stronger in prayer, stronger in discipleship, and stronger in faith. These journeys of growth are ongoing. In this life we are never finished growing. So let’s do some exercises. Spend time today praying. Use Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 as your guide to pray about the things of God first, then for what you and others need after that. Make a decision to be a Jesus follower. Our decision to follow Jesus has to be more than just lip service. We must show that we are Jesus followers with our hands and feet, with our words and our attitudes. We live in a world that desperately needs to see and know genuine Jesus followers – not just “church-goers,” not just a demographic called “evangelicals,” but genuine Jesus followers whose actions and attitudes are in line with the Scriptures. If we will follow, Jesus has promised that He will help us. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” One of the greatest thoughts in that sentence is “I will make you.” If you will make the decision to be a Jesus follower, Jesus promises to make you into who He wants you to be. Choose to follow and He will teach you how. Trust Him. He will show you how to follow day by day.
To grow stronger requires discipline and commitment. It’s not easy, but it is simple. (I think we have often made things too complicated in church.)
We encourage three simple things that will help you grow stronger as a Jesus follower:
- Large group/small group – make a commitment to be in worship and Bible study each week.
- Worship and Scripture are at the heart of all we do as children of God. Without worship and Bible study we will never grow stronger spiritually.
- Mentoring – Seek someone to help you grow spiritually and, in turn, help someone to grow spiritually.
- We are not made to go on this journey alone. We need each other.
- Talk about it – Have a meaningful spiritual conversation with an unbeliever each week.
- Develop the “habit” of including your faith in everyday conversations. Let’s learn to include Jesus in everyday conversations. And remember to have conversations, not just declarations. Engage people in conversation. Ask them what they think and talk with them. Don’t just unload what you think.
These are not easy things to do, but they are worth the discipline and effort to be on a path to growth and spiritual strength. As the year progresses, I look forward to hearing back from you about how you are growing stronger.