Monday, June 11, 2018

HOW TO GROW IN YOUR FAITH

HOW TO GROW IN YOUR FAITH- 6 ways to grow in your relationship with God | caileypearl.blogspot.com

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

A year ago today, I felt distant from God.

Sure, I was attending church most Sundays and striving to make Christ-like decisions in my life, but my actual relationship with the Father had grown stagnant. The bible continuously talks about the importance of growth in this relationship, so we know that simply going through the motions doesn’t suffice.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:18)

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1)

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment...” (Philippians 1:9)

Come the next few months, I began to think deeply about what my faith meant and who God was. I started to realize just how loving and incredible of a father He was, and just how distant I’d allowed our relationship to become.

So, as the year went on, I made it a goal to get closer to God. My journey was - and still is - full of many ups and downs, but a variety of habits enabled my faith to grow tremendously since this time last year.

While everyone’s faith journey looks a little different, I wanted to share the things that helped me personally as I know what it’s like to feel lost. I hope that you'll read them with an open heart and that they’ll help provide you with direction in your own life!


So, without further ado, here are six things to help you grow in your faith.

  1. TRULY BELIEVE IN WHO GOD IS AND IN HIS PROMISES

There’s a big difference between believing in God’s existence and believing in who God is.

The former consists of simply acknowledging that God is out there. As Christians, we all have this belief. But this belief alone usually isn’t enough to make us want to get to know Him better or live by His teachings.

Instead, we need to go the extra step and believe in who God is- in the fact that he is a god of love, kindness, justice, and all the other things the bible tells us He is.

A good way to do this is to look at His many promises to us. For example, truly believing in who God is involves believing in His promise to love us unconditionally despite how far we may stray from Him (Jer. 31:3), to give us the strength to face trials and tribulations (Isa. 41:10), to provide us with peace of mind (Phil. 4:6-7), to never leave nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8), and to have plans to prosper us and not harm us (Jer. 29-11).

When we come to terms with all this and truly put our trust in God’s promises, it is then that we’ll develop the desire to get closer to Him and build our relationship.


  1. WRITE DOWN YOUR PRAYERS

One of the biggest obstacles at the start of my faith journey was my difficulty with engaging in prayer. For whatever reason, I seemed to have constructed a mental block against the practice that prevented me from mumbling but a few words before getting distracted.

To try to combat this, I one day grabbed a notebook and simply began to transcribe my prayers.

And it made it so, so much easier.

You see, I was still praying just as I would in my head, but putting these prayers onto paper actually allowed me to stay focused and concentrate more fully on what I was saying.

If you want to try this out but are still unsure of where to start out, that's totally understandable! Begin by asking God for the strength to communicate with Him in prayer and to let go of any insecurities/mental blocks that may be stopping you from doing so. With time and dedication, you’ll find it increasingly easier to let the words flow out of you as you become more comfortable in His presence.

Here’s a loose template you can follow to help get yourself started:

Dear God,
Thank you for this day and everything you’ve made.
Thank you specifically for ____, ____, and _____.
I pray that you help me with ____, ____, and ____.
Thank you again and in Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. LISTEN TO WORSHIP MUSIC

God’s biggest desire for us is that we spend time with Him- and listening to worship music is an entirely valid and powerful form of doing so.

If you’re ever feeling particularly stuck or unmotivated in your faith journey, I find that putting on worship music fills me with an overwhelming joy that almost immediately motivates me to get closer to God. If you're planning on reading the bible or journaling your prayers, having the music on beforehand is a great way to get you into the mood.

Some powerful songs for me personally include:

  • "So Will I" by Hillsong United
  • "Just be Held" by Casting Crowns
  • "Oh My Soul" by Casting Crowns
  • "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns
  • "To My Knees" by Hillsong Young & Free
  • "Oceans" by Hillsong United


  1. READ DEVOTIONALS/LISTEN TO PODCASTS

This is a great way to ease into the word if picking up a bible for the first time seems a bit too daunting.

I find that reading a devotional first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed really helps center my mind on Christ. It's incredible to see the way God works through this; so many times it's as though the message was crafted specifically for me as it talks about a specific problem I faced that day.

Podcasts are also a great way to center your day on God. Wherever you can fit one in is great- whether it be while getting ready in the morning, on the car ride to school or work, or winding down at night.

For devotionals, I’d recommend the books Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and 100 Favorite Bible Verses by Thomas Nelson, as well as the app Wisdom Hunters. For podcasts, I've recently been enjoying The Porch as well as my church’s posted online sermons.


  1. GET INTO THE WORD

While podcasts and devotionals are great, there truly is no substitute for the actual word of God.

This may seem daunting at first- the bible is huge, and it can overwhelming to try to figure out where and how to start. Personally, I found that the book of John was a perfect starting point. It talks all about Jesus and who He is, making it a great introduction to what Christianity is all about. Here’s what bible.org has to say about John:

“For Christians, the Gospel of John is a source of much truth about our Lord and the Gospel. But it’s much more than this. It is an opportunity for us to “follow Him” as we read, and to identify with the disciples as their knowledge of Him continued to expand. It is our opportunity to get to know the heart of the Savior, and to fellowship with Him through His Word.”

As for how to study the bible, I find that reading it in chunks and taking notes as I go works best for me. If you want a full guide on this, let me know!


  1. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE

This is something I recently started doing and wish I did earlier. By committing verses to memory, you’ll notice them starting to pop into your head during times of hardships to provide you with comfort. Even if you aren’t going through anything bad at the time, it’s still good to have some key verses that you can call on whenever you need them.

For instance, whenever I’m feeling stressed or anxious, I try to lean on verses like Philippians 4:6-7 to bring me back to the comfort of God.

With all that said, It’s important to remember that there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grow in your faith. What works for me may not work for you, and that's ok. Faith is a highly individual journey that looks different in different people, so follow whatever your heart is telling you is right for you.

I genuinely hope these tips help you grow in your relationship with God. If you have any questions or comments about your own faith journey, I would love to hear and talk about them below.


Until next time,


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