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Developing our faith can feel so elusive. We all have these great intentions of starting a new devotional, studying our Bible, praying for our loved ones, or even journaling; only to get sidetracked, when life gets in the way.
We struggle with feelings of discouragement, embarrassment, and even feel a little ashamed. Why is investing in our faith so hard? Doesn’t God want us to have a deep relationship with him? Surely, at this stage in our lives, we should already know how to develop our faith. We lay awake at night and wonder, is my current experience of God all I can expect on earth?
We secretly hope our friends never find out the real state of our spiritual lives. We feel like an imposter, as we say all the right things while trying to stuff our discouragement deep inside. We paste on a smile, throw ourselves into more church activities, hoping against hope that God will transform our lackluster relationship into a vibrant friendship with him.
So how do we find our faith when we get sidetracked? How do we experience a thriving relationship with God? How do we throw off our feeling of imposter syndrome and embrace everything God has for us today?
Here are three practical ways to move towards Jesus without having to become a nun. 🙂
Finding Faith: The Goal
Finding Faith: Journey Together
Finding Faith: All About Community
1. Finding Faith: The Goal
We can sometimes get so distracted with the beautiful new cover of the latest devotional that we forget its purpose. We need to ask ourselves, why are we using this resource? Is it because all our friends are using this devotional and we don’t want to be left out?
The completion of spiritual resources does not equate with a deep relationship with God. Let me say this again, God desires a relationship with us, not the completion of a spiritual tool. “Spiritual people are not those who engage in certain spiritual practices; they are those who draw their life from a conversational relationship with God.” -Dallas Willard
Our focus as followers of Jesus should be an authentic relationship with God. We can’t lose sight of the goal. So, what does this practically look like?
First, we spend time in prayer, talking, and listening to God. This is key because we could go for days on a nonstop monologue of our thoughts and feelings. It can be easy to forget that just because we can’t see God doesn’t mean he isn’t talking to us. We need to practice listening for God’s voice.
Second, don’t feel the need to complete a book, resource, or practice because you need to get all the information to grow. Transformation is not the result of a firehose of information. It is about thoughtful interaction with the current work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Third, we need to ask the Holy Spirit for direction. He is always faithful to lead us to the next step (or resource) in our spiritual journeys.
2. Finding Faith: Journey Together
In the United States, we have several unspoken values as a country. One of those values goes by several names: autonomy, self-sufficiency, independence, etc. Our culture will tell us that we are so evolved that we can develop our faith in isolation. As long as we have access to the trendiest tv preacher and the latest women’s devotional, that we can grow all by ourselves.
And we can…until we can’t. You see, we forget that Christianity is a counter-cultural way of life. We were not designed to live a life with God in isolation. We were created to live life together in community.
Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We wonder why our relationship with God consists of good intentions and half-finished conversations. We need each other to offer support, encouragement, and accountability. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded people to grow in our faith.
Ruth Haley Barton says it this way, “The purpose of journeying together in spiritual friendship and spiritual community (whether there are just two of you or whether you are in a small group) is to listen to one another’s desire for God, to nurture that desire in each other and to support one another in seeking a way of life that is consistent with that desire. ”
She says community is all about listening to each other, nurturing the desire for God in each other, and supporting each other in pursuing him. Life will happen. Spiritual community offers you encouragement and accountability to pursue Jesus even when your schedule is busy.
When we are tempted to push God to the back burner, our community reminds us of who we are and where we are going. We need each other.
3. Finding Faith-All About Community
So, what are we looking for in a community? We need to understand that there is no perfect group. As followers of Jesus, we are all broken people at various stages in our spiritual development. We all desperately need God’s grace (and each other’s) as we pursue Jesus together.
Dallas Willard says like this, “Spiritual formation cannot, in the nature of the case, be a ‘private‘ thing, because it is a matter of whole-life transformation. You need to seek out others in your community who are pursuing the renovation of the heart.”
There is no perfect community. Life together will be messy. We are all in the process of transformation. However, here are some of the key values to look for when you are joining a group. One of the ways you can find community is by participating in a small group at your local church.
- Authenticity- The value of saying the real thing not the right thing.
- Encouragement– The value of an encouraging and supportive environment.
- Accountability– The value of accountability spoken with grace, wisdom, and love.
- Like-Minded– The value of intentionally pursuing Jesus together
- Prayer Support– The value of intentionally praying over each other.
- Relationships– The value of intentionally forming relationships with each other.
Are you hungry to know and experience a deeper relationship with God? Do you dream of participating in an authentic community, where together you encourage one another, in your relationship with Jesus? If so, join our waitlist for the Deeper Life Community. While you wait, you will receive for FREE our Deeper Life Beginners Guide and will be the first to know when registration opens. Grab your guide today!
Remember these three steps to finding your faith when you get sidetracked. Our focus as followers of Jesus should be an authentic relationship with God. Second, we are on a spiritual journey together. Third, we find support and accountability by participating in community together.
What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to pursuing a relationship with Jesus when you get sidetracked? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!