So many times we want God to reveal Himself to us. We question if He is real. And if we do believe in Him, we expect Him to really put Himself on display in big ways.
What I've discovered in the 27 years since I've become a Christian is that I've learned more about God by focusing on the priorities in the Bible—the main things He asks us to do— than any other way.
It seems the Bible is made up of a lot of rules, but actually when we focus on the few most important things, the rest are taken care of.
When we do what God has already asked us to do, He will reveal so much more about Himself and His ways. I learn about Him by turning to Him, depending on Him, thanking Him and loving others.
What does He reveal? His loving heart. His willingness to provide for us. And His concern for people in this world. As I follow Him in these ways I am changed and the world is impacted for God.
What are the main things God asks us to do?
1. Believe in Jesus.
" ... Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved" (Acts 16:31).
Understand because of your sin you deserve to be separated from God for eternity, but through the sacrifice of Jesus you can be saved from punishment and can spend eternity with Him. All you need to pray is, "Jesus, I believe in you. Please take my sin and give me eternity with you instead." It's that easy.
2. Put living for Jesus first in your life.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
This means daily seeking Jesus, reading the Bible, loving others as Jesus did and trusting He will care for your needs.
3. Read the Bible.
"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
When we read the Bible, we learn more about God and His ways. We learn how to live life more effectively. When you sit down to read the Bible, pray, "Lord, help me to understand." Also, ask someone who has been reading the Bible for a while to help you to understand better.
4. Become involved in a local Bible-believing church and seek friendships with Christ-followers.
"Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25).
We are not meant to follow Jesus alone. We gain help and encouragement from other believers. When you join with other Christ-followers regularly, they will be there to help and support you, and you can do the same for them.
5. Forgive others.
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).
People will hurt us ... a lot. Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. It means turning it over to God and allowing Him to handle the situation. God doesn't take sin lightly, trust that.
6. Live your life with thankfulness, not complaining.
"Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may be blameless and harmless, sons of God, without fault, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation ... " (Phil. 2:14-15).
When we spend our day thanking God for all we have, instead of complaining about what we don't have, everything changes, starting with our attitude and our view on life. We will notice the difference in our attitude during the day and others will too.
7. Pray all the time.
"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Pray without ceasing just means when you're thinking about something over and over, it's a good sign that it's something you can pray about. Ask God to help the situation and give you wisdom on how to handle it.
8. Love others.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up, does not behave itself improperly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
When we love others like God asks us to, they benefit and we do too.
9. Care for the widows and orphans.
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:27).
A symbol of being a Christian is not doing all you can to take care of yourself, but doing all you can to take care of others.
These things don't sound easy, do they? The truth is that everything God asks us to do is impossible, unless we turn to Him and ask Him for help and strength. If you want to obey God in these ways, ask Him to help you. We cannot live as a Christ-follower in our own strength.
The first step is to pray this prayer:
Jesus, I want to follow you in these ways. Please help me, and please bring people in my life to show me Your ways.
Now, I want to pray for you:
Dear Jesus, you see my friend and you see his/her desire to live as you ask. Please help him/her today to draw closer to you and desire to do these things. And as he/she does I pray you will reveal yourself in amazing ways. Amen.
I can't wait to hear how God is going to reveal Himself to you! Please let me know.
Tricia Goyer has written more than 35 books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31 and HomeLife Magazine.
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