Consider What You Bring to the Table
Isolation is not the goal of a Christian. Our faith is intended to be lived out in community with others. We are not lone monks hiding from the rest of the world, but a community of Christ followers that encourage and inspire others to be Disciples of Jesus. We do things together; we make disciples, engage culture, and love people. A community is made up of individuals, and each of us can only give what it is we already have. Consider what you bring to the table spiritually, and know this: you can lead the way. A healthy follower of Christ is disciplined in a few elements of our faith on an individual level.
Element One: We Read
The Bible is our written source about God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ. It is where each of us may learn about our purpose and identity. It is the Bible which we use to interpret our own human experience. The world in the 66 books of the Bible are the very words of God. Reading the Bible is essential to growing in Christ. I’ve already written on how vital it is to read the Bible on a regular basis. I’ll be posting about how to get on a Bible reading schedule and get the most out of reading the Bible. Christians read the Bible; it is essential.
Element Two: We Pray
We pray for many reasons, but all of them have this in common: communication and communion with God who created the universe. We pray commonly in times of trouble or distress, under circumstances of loss, or even in defeat. As followers of Jesus Christ, we pray when big milestone events are experienced in life, like marriage, the birth of a child, or a new job. We ask for help when things are important, from tests and exams, our child’s first day of school, etc. And we pray for forgiveness, when we’ve done what is wrong, and we ask God for direction. Another way to pray: to hear from God. Whether we are reading through the Bible, or simply burning across our daily timeline in life, it is important to ask God to teach us, lead us, and humble us. Ultimately, this is a necessary ingredient to becoming more like Jesus. Prayer is essential to spiritual health.
Element Three: We follow
Following Christ isn’t about a checklist or rules. We follow Jesus by placing our faith in Him, and by working hard to be like Him. In the Bible, Jesus is seen living a life of perfect obedience to the Father. Therefore, in freedom we follow the Father to be like Jesus, not as drones who follow without logic or reason. We follow not because each life is already mapped out and bound to fate; we follow because Jesus did so and became the savior of all. We follow and obey the Father by learning His will through reading the Bible, a consistent culture of personal prayer, and the wisdom and encouragement of those we surround ourselves with. Following Jesus means to obey the Father. Following Jesus will lead us to make disciples, engage culture, and love people. As I have written before: we follow in obedience, by faith, in community.
These three elements: Reading the Bible, praying, and following Jesus are not a blueprint to live an isolated life. They are the essential elements we all must consistently bring to the table in our relationships. How essential does your personal life say these three elements are? And using these elements as a backdrop, what do you bring to the table in the context of your relationships, from family, friends, church, the workplace, etc.? Next we will look at our relationships, and how to bless others and be blessed.