Five Practices that Make Stronger Christians

On this Easter Sunday, It’s important to remind ourselves to make the most of our time. I’m a person who despises frivolous misuse of time. I consider my time, and the time of others, as precious and valuable. Gratuitously and habitually wasting time on video games or watching an afternoon of sports absolutely irks me. It always feels like I’ll never get that time back. I know…I must sound like the life of the party! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy connecting with friends for some laughs from time to time but I’m admittedly a stubborn homebody. I’ve never understood why so many people enjoy “the scene”. Dude, I’m married with kids. I have better things to do. I’m a grown up now and I would like to act like one.

For the Christian, we’re often tempted to fall into the ways of the world. Partake in one too many drinks. Lustfully slobber over women who leave little to the imagination. Idolize the counterfeit sports gods rather than worship God as the Supreme Being. There are so many distractions of the world that sidetrack us off the path of Christ. When speaking with my friends about Christ, it seems their interests are in everything other than God. They’ve engulfed themselves in everything but God so that God now has a sideline role in their life. God seems to be a convenient truth that only becomes prioritized when it’s ideal for them. Similar to insurance, God has become something they don’t really think about until the need for it arises. Sadly, many self-identified Christians have departmentalized Christ in a way that makes Him a lesser priority in one’s life.

Now, the question is, how can we stay focused on the important things of life while becoming informed passionate Christians? Informed Christians are likely to recognize the vital importance of the constant presence of God in their lives more than someone who sporadically calls on God when they need him. What are practical things that Christians can do to keep God’s presence active in their lives? Simply put, you don’t have to go to seminary and get an advanced degree to be focused on God at an advanced level. Let’s take a look at some resources that I’ve personally relied on that have made my life as a Christian more fulfilling and has led me to have a stronger connection with Christ.

  • Bible – Shocker? I hope not. This should be our MAIN resource. The resource of which all other Christian resources revolve around. If you want the authoritative Word of God, this is it. The convenient thing about the Bible is that it’s 100% guaranteed to be the inspired Word of God. Whether you’re reading it, studying it in a group, or listening to it on CD, the Word has transformative power.
  • Podcasts – There are so many great podcasts freely available to everyone that there is no reasonable excuse not to use them. My favorites are The Reasonable Faith Podcast with William Lane Craig, The Stand to Reason Podcast with Greg Koukl, Cross Examined with Frank Turek, Cold Case Christianity with J Warner Wallace, and Unbelievable with Justin Brierley. These podcasts keep my daily commute to work quite busy and fill me with Christian insights from all perspectives. They also serve to help me in my understanding of the Bible and the modern-day challenges that are being presented against the existence of God.
  • Reading – Yes, I said it. It’s true, reading is good for you. In my early twenties, I hated to read. I couldn’t stand it! I despised the idea of sitting with a book and focusing for any length of time. However, I’ve grown a deep passion for reading starting in my mid twenties. Now that I’m almost thirty, I’ve read hundreds of books and tens of thousands of pages on Christianity, theology, science, philosophy, and politics. My knowledge of all of these topics has given me a well-rounded understanding of God’s creation. Through reading, God has given me the ability to critically think about the world He’s created. Reading has opened the door to a clearer mind.
  • Writing – Writing can helpfully translate what you’ve learned into concrete individual ideas unique to you. When I have the opportunity to write, it helps me better assess what I’ve learned with more depth, therefore increasing my comprehension of the material. Not only that, but it helps you become a better verbal communicator of these ideas as well because you’ve already articulated these ideas through your own personal written work.
  • Watching – Watching lectures and debates on the topic of Christianity will deepen your understanding of all facets of Christianity. Personally, I have probably seen all of William Lane Craig’s debates (and that’s a lot!!!). I can’t begin to express how helpful this has been in my walk with Jesus. Craig’s dialogues with non-believers of all persuasions have deepened my understanding of my own faith along with assisting me in a meaningful understanding of the worldview of a non-believer.

These five practices will strengthen the faith of a genuine Christian believer in his search for continued understanding of God. These practices will not only open your mind to a world of detailed information about the existence of God, but it will open your heart to continued personal growth within Christ.

Conclusion

All things we do should be done for the glory of God. The little moments that we have to focus on the things that really matter during the day are often squandered by meaningless distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc… Am I saying that there isn’t a time or place for any of these things or that we should live a life comparable to an observant Monk living in the mountains of Tibet who spends all his time in meditation in reverence to the Almighty? Um…no. However, I am saying that we should prioritize our schedule to reflect our relationship with Christ. That may mean that you listen to a Christian podcast instead of listening to Lady Gaga on the way to work. Or instead of reading that juicy 50 Shades of Grey novel you’ve been hearing so much about, you pick up the Bible. Maybe you can watch a lecture or a debate on a Christian related topic instead of watching Kim Kardarshian worsen her already tragic life.

It’s the little changes that make the biggest difference. I’ve personally noticed how superficial the world is by engulfing myself with things that truly matter. When my co-workers are devastated that their favorite singer didn’t win American Idol or their favorite sports team didn’t win the big game, I have to smile because I’ve invested my time and energy into the things that matter eternally. I’ve developed these practices so that I can personally focus on knowing God and allowing my heart to be open enough to let Him direct my life. Prayerfully, I’ve been blessed by Him along the way and trust that I always will be. I hope these tips may bless you  in the way they’ve blessed me.

Advertisements

2 responses to “Five Practices that Make Stronger Christians

  1. Very very good and helpful. It makes me think of Paul’s letter to the Philipians that says we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Working out our salvation means we do everything from our side that we can to grow spiritually. All of the things you mentioned is part of “working out our salvation”. Thank you for the reminder and the tips.

  2. Pingback: mid-week apologetics booster (7-9-2015) « 1 Peter 4:12-16·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s