When I was younger, I would attempt to get closer to God through my actions. I would go to VBS and sing about how awesome Jesus is. Yay yay yay, God is great! That was all fine and dandy. Then as I got older, things change a little…
Instead of VBS, it was DNOW.
I mean, I went to church and read my Bible. Sometimes I would do a plan to see how much I could read. Then sometimes my friends and I would hold our own Bible studies. One of my best friends and I even started our own YouTube Channel called Show Jesus. I got involved in 2 different youth groups, one where I was on the worship team. I started sponsoring a little girl from Uganda with one of my friends. I read my Bible a ton& honestly thought I had it all figured out. I was living for Jesus!
Then I went to college.
Then, a lot of things changed. I mean, I feel like my relationship with God became mine (versus my parents) a while before college. Probably the summer after my junior year when I went on my first mission trip to Mexico is when I just really fell in love with God. I would say from that point on I knew that my relationship was personal. It wasn’t just a t-shirt brand I wore, but a tattoo on my heart. My faith was mine. It was what I believe, not what someone told me to believe.
But despite that, college still kind of shook me a little.
As I told ya’ll in a previous post, I went to a conference called Passion over this past Christmas break, and that’s when I realized exactly how low I was with my faith. I was doing a good job of going through the motions, but my heart was dry. I looked like I was a super Christian going to church 4 or 5 times a week and quoting all these Bible verses and doing a Christian couples devo with my Christian boyfriend and what not. But none of that mattered, because like I said, I was dry. In my quiet time… well that’s the thing, it wasn’t there. It was becoming extremely difficult to pour into my Christian relationship and even harder to pour into anyone else, like my sweet little mini me that I mentor, Brittany.
If you ask her, she can probably tell you that I’ve changed a ton since last semester when it comes to how often I would encourage her and how energetic and happy I would be at youth. I wanted to do all of this stuff for God and be a good person, but I wasn’t putting the work in in private.
Key word: PERSONAL relationship with God
A lot of us know this, but a lot of us also need reminders. That’s me. I can tell you this, this, and this about the Bible, but I still need those simple reminders. And this is my reminder for today; we have to pour Jesus into our lives. We can’t just get fueled off church and Bible studies and Jesus talks. Those things help, but they don’t dismiss the need for personal time with God.
We may not think about it, but whether we like it or not, something is influencing us on a daily basis. It could be the music we listen to or the friends we hangout with, but for the most part, we get to chose what that influence is. For me, when I started college, it was hard to influence myself with Godly things. But not being surrounded by Jesus influence’s changed my outlook on being intimate with God. I didn’t have that desire, because I spent my time caught up in the world’s media.
And what I’ve learned is that no one could change that for me but me. Same goes for anyone reading this, I can’t write this blog and change how you see your relationship with God. I can’t write this and change what you read or look at or how much time you spend with God versus your boyfriend; you have to come to that point where you realize that God isn’t at the center and then YOU actively work to put Him there in private, when your parents and Christian friends aren’t watching or listening. Then, that influence will eventually start to rub off and you will see a change in how you live publically.
Think about it: if we fill ourselves with cuss words, movies with sex and alcohol and drugs and gossip and all of that, then that’s what will be fresh in our minds as well live life, and it will affect how we live. But if we filter out what fill our selves will, we might be more willing to face God and have a little one on one time with Him.
Honestly, I’m not to that point yet either. Yes, I’ve had that realization, and yes I am actively seeking ways to put God at the center of my whole life and give Him my whole, undivided heart, but in no way have I succeeded yet. I’ll probably be working at it forever. I won’t ever be perfect and neither will any of you, but we can try.
Because the more we become God-centered people, the more that our lives becomes Kingdom-centered lives. The more we surround ourselves with Jesus, the more He will flow out of us, the more we will become the salt and the light of the world, the more others will notice, and the more that we will fulfill our purpose of bringing people to Christ. And that’s what it’s all about guys.
Lets stop using the excuse that we like the beat of a certain song, or we like the plot line of this movie even though it’s filled with cheating and infidelity and cussing. Let’s stop saying we hang out with these people to bring them to God when we know very well we don’t shine for Jesus when we are around them. Girls stop flirting to convert and boy stop talking about girls in a foul way just because all your friends are doing it.
In Romans it says “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is”(Romans 12:2 NIV). See, God even warn us that if we spend our time getting caught up in the world, it’ll will be difficult to see what His will is. But if we don’t, then God’s will, will become more clear to us.
There is an entire chapter in the Bible (1 John Ch. 2) about not loving the world, and “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”(Hebrews 12:2 NIV). We ARE NOT to young to be a light for this world. 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
I pray that this generation, me included, would come across this realization that since we are Christians, we are in a constantly battle with our flesh. But that it wouldn’t discourage us, but that we would realize we have the greatest defender of ALL time, ON OUR SIDE. NO weapons formed against us will prosper(Isaiah 54:17). We can be more than what we think if we will set our minds to, and start devoting our time to it.
And we really don’t have any excuses anymore. There is some really good Christian music out there and some really good Christian movies too. I’m not saying everything you watch has to be about God, but be aware of what a movie is rated PG-13 for, before you go and watch the movie.
It’s not as difficult as we make it out to be. Really it comes down to this; do we want to keep living in neutral or do we want to grow in that personal relationship with God? It’s up to us, individually and personally. No one can make you, and honestly no one will probably even notice if you do keep living in neutral. You can keep going through the motions and what not. But when it comes down to it and you realize you’re tired of not being satisfied with what the world has to offer, and when you say to yourself, I want to know the one who created me and loves me, remember it’s not about how much you do for God. You can try to change the world for Jesus every day, but that the end of every day it comes down to do you know His heart through the quiet time you spend with him daily? Are you trying to live out a god-pleasing life in private as well as in public? Because through that quiet time is how you really change the world. How can we know what our best friend wants if we never stop and get to know them or simply ask so we can find out?
Before you know it, if you take that step toward a more Christ-centered life, you’ll start living out those versus you’ve meditated on. You’ll slowly become less interested in looking cool and saying the hip thing. And people will notice. They will see that light. Some of them might hate it, but some will be interested. That’s how we live out the Bible. That’s how we become salt and light. We can’t do it alone guys. We have to have that fuel that reading His words and praying to Him gives us.
And it all starts with that personal relationship with our Father that will build when everyone or no one is looking.