Sometimes we are the cause of our own unhappiness. We might blame exterior reasons like our job or our family, but it often comes down to ourselves, the approach we take to our lives, and the attitudes we carry. Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is insanity, but we often live this way. Spiritually, we may want to have better Christian lives, but we follow old patterns that may be ineffective and unsatisfying.
Setting New Patterns
Are we drawing closer to God? Do we find ourselves committing to God at times but reverting back to our old ways? James 1:22-25 encourages us to be active doers of God’s word rather than just listeners, and the author of Hebrews 4:14-16 encourages to approach God’s grace with confidence. Hebrews 10:19-23 reinforces the role of confidence in our drawing closer to God. Furthermore, James 4:7-8 correlates resisting sin with drawing nearer to God.
Are we encouraging others? It can be tough to take the initiative in reaching out to a brother or sister in need. I Thessalonians 5:9-11 builds our confidence in encouraging one another atop our confidence in our relationship with God. Paul, in Romans 1:11-12, speaks of spiritual strength resulting from mutual encouragement, and Colossians 2:1-3 speaks of the relationship with other Christians that results from encouragement. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that this encouragement begins in our fellowship.
How well do we know God’s word? We are the only one’s to blame if we are not taking the time to know and understand God’s word. II Timothy 2:15 tells us it takes diligence, and Ezra, in Ezra 7:10, is an example of one who was diligent in his mission to know God’s word. Also, I Peter 3:15-16 tells us to always be prepared to answer for the hope and confidence we have in our relationship with God. We must know the word if we are to talk about it.
How are our prayer lives? Do we only pray for meals? Do we only pray as a last resort? Are we fully casting our cares on Him, or do we have reservations? Philippians 4:6-7 says that a healthy prayer life leads to inner peace. Furthermore, James 4:2-3 speaks to the attitude we should have in prayer. We should pray, but our intentions should not be selfish, and I Peter 5:6-7 tells us to be humble in our prayers. Colossians 1:9 correlates godly wisdom with a healthy prayer life. In Matthew 6:5-13 Jesus explains and gives an example of how we should pray that ties in with what we have seen so far.
If we want to grow spiritually, we have to be willing to change the patterns we live in. We can’t expect to improve our spirituality if we are willing to do nothing. Do we find our relationship with God and fellow Christians lacking? We can draw closer to God and our brothers and sisters. We can encourage and be encouraged, and we can use prayer and study as avenues to God. If we aim at nothing, it has been said, we will hit it every time. Don’t get settled into old patterns. Make an aim to be more spiritually-minded, and take the steps to improve your relationship with God and other Christians.
lesson by Donn Koonce