There are no words, no phrases, no long and beautiful paragraphs that I can create that would help you grow in your faith other than to say this: if we want to grow with each other, if want to have love overflowing and be satisfied to our deepest soul, we need a relationship first and foremost with our Heavenly Father. It’s just that simple. In fact, it sounds so simple it is easy to overlook it, but something changes so profoundly at our core as we draw closer to God.
2 Peter 1:3 puts it into perfect understanding:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Imagine a bucket and a water hose. You are a bucket, God is the hose, without continually being under his running tap of fresh water, your bucket will not stay full. You give away some love to your kids, some to your husband, a little extra here and there and suddenly you’re empty. We need God’s spring of life in our buckets. To deny that would run us empty and we’d be left with nothing but an empty container. The opposite is also true. If we remain in God’s continual flow of love, our buckets become so full that we spill all over the place.
I’ve been blessed in my life to have been surrounded by a few wonderful godly women. They are full of life giving encouragement, grace, wisdom, and love. They are the type of women who you want to be with all the time because their very presence is attractive. I desire to be near to them, to sit with them, and learn from them. I can only assume that that’s because the character of God radiates from their every pore. I want to be like them one day. I want to have the self control they have. I want to drip with God’s presence. I long to be so connected to my Father that I am transformed and become an example of his character to those around me. I want my life to point to him.
As I’ve watched these mentors in my life I know one thing for certain about them, these women, more than anything else, desire to be deep in their bibles listening to their Shepherd’s voice. They are humble sheep who need nothing else. I hope, for your sake, that you have met someone like that. If not, I pray God would bring a wise mentor into your life.
But you, my sister, can have this kind of life too. This life full of love so full you can’t help but to spill it all over everyone around you. And perhaps, this life so abundantly is exactly what we need to dissemble a few more bricks in our guarded walls.
As we grow in our understanding of who God is, we also grow in our understanding of who we are too. We gain courage, boldness, wisdom deeper than the world has to offer. We become lights to others around us as he uses us to point to him.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV)
See? It all works together. As we grow with God he grows in us goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection to others, and love for others.
There’s something different about the love that grows from God’s seeds too. It’s full of grace! When the world offers us love, it’s superficial and unstable. It can change with the time and season, but God’s love is timeless and doesn’t change. As it fills our buckets and spills onto others, they see this love full of grace and mercy, and it begins to melt away their walls as well in a way that only God can do. It will also give us eyes to see others as God created them. Our hearts will soften to others and a spark of compassion will grow as we see those around us as the sons and daughters of a King.
I know you know this. I’m sure it still feels like bland oatmeal when you were hoping for a spicy omelette this morning. But, it’s one of those areas in our lives that I know we always we need more of. how many times have we said, “I really need to read my bible more”. Or, “I should pray and gives thanks more often but…”. We have good intentions in our hearts, but it takes the act of following through to grow closer to God. He says:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door with be opened to you.” Matt 7:7
“Come near to God, and he will come near to you you…” James 4:8
All those verses begin with us making the first move. I know so often I think about God, or think about being better, or resolve to change, but then don’t. It isn’t until I actually make the effort to draw close to him that I notice my patience grow, or that I have more genuine love in my heart.
So, I offer you this. Pick a time of day that’s quiet. Turn off your tv, your phone, your computer, and whatever other distraction you have. Open your bible, and read with an expectant heart that He is working in you. Keep at it, even if it feels boring, or doesn’t make sense right away. Don’t give up! Grab a friend, spouse, your kid, your dog whatever it takes and stay with it. Slowly, you will begin to notice change in your life. Slowly God will begin to transform you from the core most core of who you are.
I have created a printable bible study guide for you to use while you read through your bible. (click here to download it) It has space for what you read, learned, and your prayers for the day. Feel free to print it and write right on it, or begin a journal and use the study guide as a guideline. It’s there to help you get started and excited to come sit at the feet of your Father.
Don’t know where to start? Try picking a book and read it start to finish. You know from last post that Ruth is my favourite, try that one if you want a short read. Or, if you really want to know what Jesus was all about, check out the gospels (that’s the first four books of the new testament). Whatever you choose, stick with it. And keep track of your prayers and things God reveals to you. It will be fun a few months, or a year from now to see what he has taught you and what prayers have been answered.
Feel free to comment with a favourite verse or two . Tell us how God has used it to transform your thoughts and actions, and teach you something new. Or share with us a prayer God answered; or a piece of encouragement for those attempting to draw nearer to God.