How are you, day to day, following Jesus?
This is a question that I have heard a lot over my life. Maybe you have too. I never knew how to answer this question when I was younger. Growing up, I believed that being a Christian meant going to church, Sunday school, and Wednesday night kids programming. Once I had those three things done, I could put a check by my Christian box. However, as I have grown in my faith, I have come to the realization that my faith is a part of my entire life, not just a box to check off throughout the week.
So how do I seek to follow Jesus day to day? For me it starts with intentionally abiding in Christ. In John 15 it talks about how God abides in us as we abide in him. It also explains that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Jesus is the source of the life, joy, and hope that I have, and as I continue to abide in him I continue to learn and grow in relationship with him.
That’s what it is for me – a relationship.
I remember the first time my family moved. It was the summer before my 1st grade year. We had finally settled into our new home after living in our camper for a few months. I stood outside the house just taking it all in. That’s when I noticed that there was a young boy (about my age) shooting hoops in the driveway next door. He waved and said hi, I waved and ran back inside. Little did I know that boy would become one of my best friends throughout elementary school. However, it didn’t start out that way. We had to spend time together. We got to know one another through conversations, games of tag, birthday parties, and family meals. We went from strangers to besties as we continued to get to know one another.
The same is true with my relationship with God. I need to spend time with Him in order to grow in my relationship with him. It takes time, it takes energy, and that is what God wants. He wants a relationship with his creation.
How do I abide with Christ?
First, I spend time in his word. God reveals himself through the bible, and we can come to know Him by spending time in scripture. I have to be intentional with this, setting a time aside each day to spend reading and engaging in the word of God. Through scripture, I come to know and understand God and his love for me more and more. I am also encouraged, reminded, corrected, built up, and refreshed as I read his promises, his law, and his will for my life.
Second, I spend time in prayer. Again, I need to intentionally set aside time to do this. This has not always been easy, and words have not always come naturally to me when it comes to praying. In what relationship is it easy though? I am not able to just go up to anyone on the street and begin a deep personal conversation with them. That level of trust takes time to build up. The same has been true about my prayer life. It started out as a struggle. What do I say? How do I pray? But as I continually set time aside and go to him in prayer, I have grown in my trust and in my ability to open up and be honest and true. And sure, there have been times that I have been frustrated or disappointed in my prayer life. However, as I continue to abide in Christ, as I continue to read his word and know his will, my prayer life continues to change. It has gone from doubt filled words, to a deep trust and awe of God.
Finally, I spend time in community with other faithful followers. We were created to live in relationship with others. Allowing time each week to spend with people following Jesus strengthens my personal walk with Christ. Finding that community that I go to with both my highs and lows of life sets me up for success. We laugh and cry together, and that is truly a blessing. For when I stumble I know that there are others around me who are willing to encourage and build me up.
Be engaged everyday.
All of this to simply say, I don’t have it all figured out. I do not know everything when it comes to scripture or prayer. What I do know is that I need to be intentionally abiding in Christ - setting time aside to be engaged with God each and every day.
A wise man once spoke at the college I attended. He told us how he started off each day, and it has stuck with me ever since. My morning prayer has become - Father, where are you working today, and may I join you.