This week I met with my older brother Brian for lunch. We don’t get to spend much time together anymore so it was nice to meet with him and talk about what is going on in his life. He is facing some big life-changing things like starting his own business, being an empty nester and getting involved in ministry at his church.
As we talked, I could see and hear how much God has been working in his life. He has grown more in the last two months than he had for the last several years. God really has gotten a hold of him and he is following God with all his heart. As I heard him talk about how close he felt to God I got to thinking about how many people aren’t experiencing that kind of relationship with God. Brian includes God in every decision and won’t make a move without hearing from God. He works hard at what he knows he should be doing and waits on God for things he is unsure of.
So here are a few keys I learned from Brian to growing our faith:
- Listen – Most people are busy and we run from one thing to the other. We can fill our lives with all kinds of activities that distract us from listening to God. Brian’s new journey started while on vacation away from the distractions of life. Say no to some things so you can slow down and listen more and run less. Maybe its time for a short retreat to listen to God.
- Read – Even if your not much of a reader, this is a key to growing spiritually. Most people don’t use much of the brain God gave them. I know I don’t. Reading the Bible and books about God, christian living, relationships and even leadership will stretch your mind and help you to grow. Brian told me he has read more in the last two months than he had in the last 10 years. He said his mind has been opened up and he is able to learn and grow like never before. Make a goal of reading a book of the Bible and another book on faith within the next two months. Reading feeds your mind and is one way to hear from God.
- Pray – That may sound simple, yet many of us don’t take the time to pray. When we do its a quick thought or running through a list of items we need help with. What I am talking about is having a real conversation with God. Pouring out your heart and opening yourself up to what God wants to do in you. Start to pray out loud even when you are alone. Brian has gone on prayer walks and spends time throughout the day in conversation with God. Make it a practice to praise and thank God every day, confess anything that needs confessed, pray for people that God brings to your mind. Also pray for God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and for wisdom, courage and strength to do His will. You might even consider fasting and praying. Maybe you should get on your knees or even bow down on your face and pray & listen.
- Do – It is great to read, study, learn and pray, yet if you don’t do something you will not change. Brian got involved in his church. He volunteered for the prayer ministry and quickly began leading that ministry. This helped him put into practice what God started in private. He started praying for people and God started using him to impact peoples lives. He did some things that made him uncomfortable and stretched him, and God used it to change him and the people around him. When you listen, read and pray God directs you in what to do. God will give you opportunities to influence other people, serve other people, encourage other people and even heal other people.