Thursday, July 18, 2013

Things I Wish I Knew...Maybe :-)

There are a lot of lessons God has taught me over my years of following Him.  Recently, I saw a post titled "Advice to New Christians" on Frank Viola's blog Beyond Evangelical listing such lessons he's learned that he wishes he knew from the start.  This inspired me to share my own such mini-list.

  1. You'll hear talk of the "Christian Disciplines" - devoting time to prayer, Bible study, and worship.  Don't be surprised if a set amount of time for each one daily doesn't fulfill you.  All of the disciplines are very important, but at times, you'll especially "have a heart" for one specific one more than usual, so the percentage of time you spend on each discipline will continually evolve.  Don't resist it; give in to it!  Giving in is following the Holy Sprit's leading on how He desires to communicate with you at that time in your life.
  2. Spiritual growth takes two general forms: (1) The "big," noticeable stuff like witnessing to people, standing up to defend the Gospel in a hostile environment, going on a mission trip, sacrificing something significant, etc., and (2) Shifts in your heart - showing more respect and love, complaining less, submitting more, etc. - that can be barely perceptible since they happen gradually over a long period of time.  You'll get a sense of "spiritual high" when both occur simultaneously, but in day-to-day living, only one seems to happen at a time.  Both are good - and any growth shows you're walking steadily with the Lord.
  3. Once you figure out your spiritual gifts and God's general calling for your life, don't get obsessed with the big picture right now.  What I mean is, don't only live for what you'll do in the future: "God has called me to be a writer, so one day I will write books." "God has called me to be a missionary, so after college I will go to Zimbabwe." "God has gifted me in service, so when I retire I will do charity work full time."  It is critical that you figure out how to use your gifts and your calling right now.  The future will happen in the future, but we are called to live in the now - so make good use of this time!
  4. When you're stressed out or depressed or worried or fearful, you'll know you need to pray - but sometimes, you run out of words quickly and don't know what's else to do.  Just sit at the feet of Holy.  Find a place of solitude - the wilderness, your room, wherever - and stand with your arms outstretched, or sit, or kneel, or bow on your face...and just BE in the presence of the Creator of all.  This is still communication you can feel, even without words.
Despite the fact that this is framed as things I wish I knew, I am at the same time so grateful that I did have to learn these things "the hard way" - because I have grown so much through learning them in my heart instead of my mind, and I've gotten to see God's love for me by His revealing these things to me as an individual.  Paradox, yes. :-)

What has God taught you in your walk with Him that may have been useful to know from the start?

No comments: