Saturday, January 7, 2023

7 Ways to Walk in Step with the Holy Spirit: How to Live a Victorious Christian Life

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. A wise believer ought to see their Christian walk as a journey, one day at a time, with Jesus the Lord. 

Many believers fall short in their need for endurance and perseverance (Hebrews 10:36) and end up drifting away from the message of truth (Hebrews 2:1). If salvation is not followed up by discipleship, it may become nothing more than an emotional moment that fades as quickly as it came. Don't let that be you.  Recognize that you will have to be very intentional in your walk with God.  

Jesus never said it would be easy, but He did promise to be with us in the struggles. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), yet the way is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). The message is open to anyone (John 3:16-17) but not all who say to Jesus "Lord, Lord" will inherit eternal life, but only those who do the will of the Father in Heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

D.L. Moody the famous evangelist said that the secret to success in the Christian life is understanding that Christians are to live in lockstep with the guiding of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25). We learn as Christians to be practically guided on a daily basis by the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14).  The Holy Spirit who lives in us, guides the direction of our life. We check our decisions by the leading of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the study of the word, and He practically guides our every choice to be along the path God has for us. 

As we follow God's leading the path of our life becomes more and more true to God's purposes. The Holy Spirit fills us with joy and peace in those moments. When we resist His leading and go astray, the Holy Spirit convicts us and guides us back to the right path. When we go astray, we submit to God again, repent of our sins, and we come again to Him, and he restores us. 

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. But, the work of the Holy Spirit in us does not mean we do not do our part in walking faithfully with Jesus. The Spirit will lead our lives, and our part is to obey and order our lives around the God, the practice of the fellowship with believers, and other instructions we're given from the word of God about how to live a victorious Christian life. 

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 (Hebrews 10:25).

Secondly, make sure you are attending a weekly Bible study or small group (2 Tim 3:16, John 8:31). The bear minimum for a Christian believer is weekly services and weekly Bible study, in my humble opinion.  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 one on one discipleship.

Develop your Christian life into a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly lifestyle of Spirit-filled love and 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! 

But watch out for the trap of legalism. We can start to think over time that our prayers, our bible study time, our good deeds are the reason God loves us and approves of us. If that ever happens to you, you'll begin to feel increasingly broken and hurt by the weekly pattern of life that you're living, and it will become a curse instead of a blessing.  But don't worry, if you find yourself there, repent, and turn once again to faith alone in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the beautiful savior is the reason God loves and accepts you. Return to that secure footing, and you'll find rest in Him. 

Strike that beautiful balance of faith and love in Jesus Christ, and the practices of faith that are the hallmark of true believers. We do these things from love, not for love. He already loves us and accepts us. These practices we live because we love Him so much, we want to serve Him in joy. And because faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Our faith in Christ is lived out and completed in service (Matthew 25:31-46, James 2:20, James 2:26). 

Here are seven practices for genuine Christians to truly live out their faith. These are various practices that are basic for all 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...

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. It's so amazing to see the lost come to know Jesus the wonderful savior! 

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. Study the words carefully, ask God to open your mind to understand, highlight, underline, makes notes.

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, monthly, or yearly times of fasting. Build your prayer life from a just a few minutes a day, to a half hour, even hours a day. God gives the Spirit without limit, be amazed as you seek Him in deeper and deeper prayer. 

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. This keeps the love of money in check, by giving first to God. 

5. Rest on the Sabbath - 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. This is a wonderful gift from God!

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. We should serve people in need, they need our love. 

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.