Faith in God is the bedrock of building intimacy with God and having a vibrant relationship with Him. When we decide to start a relationship with God by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, we begin the first step in an eternal relationship. However, some of us just stop there and do not intentionally build ourselves up in God. It’s like the joke (if you think it’s one) in a book about marriage (I don’t remember right now) about the man that did not say “I love you” to his wife for 11 years and the day he was confronted about it, he said “but I already told you that I loved you the day we got married, that has not changed.” I am thankful that is not my husband but you get the gist. When you are in a relationship, it is necessary to be intentional about knowing each other because anything left alone will decline into disorder.
There are certain behaviours that will aid our spiritual growth, think of them as healthy habits for the spirit. Some call them spiritual disciplines and they help us develop our inner being.
We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God; this is our reasonable service. This for me means constantly seeking out ways to be the person God created me to be and there are three ways that have been working in my life:
- Prayers. My teenage years were spent in a church where the devil was the focus of all of our prayers; everything was about the devil, my prayer life was filled with binding the devil, being scared of the devil and somehow thinking that God and the devil were locked in a battle that God did not seem to be winning. I eventually stopped worshipping there because the guilt was just too much and I never really connected with God. Now I understand that prayer is about enforcing what God has already made available for me.
- Study of the Word of God and Meditation. This is not the eastern meditation in which you clear your mind and open up yourself to all sorts, rather, this is a continuous turning over of the Word of God within you and talking to yourself about the Word. The book of Psalms tells us that it is by meditating on the Word of God that we can cleanse our hearts.
- Waiting on the Lord through fasting. Let’s get this right – your fasting does not change God neither does it move God. When the angel of God appeared to Daniel after 21 days of fasting, the angel did not make any reference to his fasting rather to his words that came up before God. The purpose of fasting is to be more receptive to God so that He can be expressed more within us.
As Christians, we need to be intentional in our walk with God; we cannot leave this up to chance. The more we practice these habits, the more we go deeper in God.