Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Lifelong Journey of Christian Lifestyle

One of the most important things about the Christian life is that we understand it's a lifelong journey.  It starts the moment we receive salvation through Jesus Christ, but it doesn't end there.  That is just the beginning.  The hard part comes after we get saved, and we begin to live the Christian lifestyle. 

That is where many believers fall short, and end up drifting away from the message of truth!  Don't let that be you.  Recognize that you will have to fight for your Christian faith, and fight hard for it each day.  Jesus never said it would be easy, but He did promise to be with us through the struggles.  

One of the best things you can do is to order your life by developing a detailed schedule for each week.  Make sure you're attending church services locally at least once a week.  Why?  This helps you stay connected to the gospel message, and receive spiritual energy for each week ahead.  That's why God commands his people to come together for fellowship.  

Secondly, make sure you are attending a weekly Bible study or small group.  The bear minimum for a Christian believer is weekly services and weekly Bible study.  You may see some church members who don't regularly attend Bible study and only occasionally attend Sunday meetings.  Don't imitate their practices!  Find the people in your church who really deeply desire to live out the Christian faith, and gather together with them.  Use each other to encourage each other toward deeper practices like lectio divina, deep prayer, fasting, confession of sins to one another, evangelism in the community, and discipleship groups.  

Develop your Christian life into a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly lifestyle of obedient faith. Determine in your mind that you're in it for the long haul.  Set up a weekly pattern of prayer, Bible reading, small groups, volunteer work, and worship.  And get ready for the ride of your life.  God is going to take you places you can hardly imagine! 

Here are seven practices for genuine Christians to truly live out their faith. These are various practices that are basic tasks for Christians.  Many do few if any of these, once again don't follow the example of those who are half in and half out.  Instead find the godly and mimic their activities.  Let's look at the basics for Christian lifestyle practices...

1. Evangelize to the lost - this means to share the gospel, your testimony, and encouragement with others throughout the week. Find ways to make it happen! The souls of lost humanity hang in the balance.

2. Read your Bible daily - The Bible is our daily bread, we need the words of God to strengthen us in this broken world. Set aside time each day to read a chapter or several, and study them carefully.

3. Pray everyday - prayer is oxygen to the Christian. Learn techniques to pray effectively and develop a pattern of practice. As you mature, add in weekly times of fasting.

4. Tithe properly & give regular offerings - Tithing as a general principle is that you give 10% of your income back to God. 10% is the minimum, but the New Testament standard is to give all, so begin to give more as you are led by God to do so. Give where you are fed, give to your church. Also give offerings as you feel led, for other ministries and for world missions. 

5. Keep the sabbath rest - We are no longer under the Old Testament law of Moses. But the sabbath rest is still an important teaching from God.  We should be taking one day a week to rest, seek God, and abstain from work. 

6. Care for the needs of the poor - There are various ways to care for the poor. Food pantries, soup kitchens, visiting shut-ins, giving out clothing, visiting those in jail, homeless shelters, and giving out water to those on the streets. These are express commands in scripture from Matthew 25:31-46. 

7. Serve in various ways in church ministry - Serving in the church is an effective way to minister to those of the body of Christ.  Don't be part of the dreaded "80-20 rule" which says "20% of the people do 80% of the work."  Don't be a martyr either, but please do serve.  Ask to speak to your pastor or a lay-leader one on one and ask about how to get involved or how to start a new ministry.  

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