A friend asked me this week what the Lord’s been teaching me, and it was easy to give an answer. In the last several years of my life, God has become more real to me than ever before. I’ve been a believer for 42+ years, but I feel like God is growing me like never before. Here are some reasons I think that’s happened at this point in my life:
- My Bible reading plan has been deeply transforming. I wrestled for years to find a plan that works, but this plan has changed my world. I seriously cannot wait to learn what the Lord has to teach me each day.
- Prayer has become more DNA than stress. I used to worry about making sure I prayed a certain amount of time in a certain place each day. Prayer was more a struggle than a pleasure; it was a spiritual necessity more than a relationship with God. That changed when I met a friend who literally prayed all day long, beginning the day with a short prayer, ending the day with longer prayer time, and talking to God continually the rest of the day.
- I changed my devotional plan to spend time with God at any time during the day. I tried the approach of a set time and place – getting up earlier every morning – but it didn’t work. When I decided to start the day with just a verse each day, and then find the best time each changing day to spend more time with God, my daily time with God became more focused and powerful. Most of the time, I do my deep study later at night, but it varies each day according to my schedule.
- God has taught me the reality of victory in spiritual warfare, particularly victory over besetting sins. When I first began studying this topic more than 20 years ago, I focused too much on the enemy. Now, I’ve learned that God really is stronger than the enemy, and I don’t have to live in defeat. Personal sin doesn’t have to control me.
- I’ve seen the needs and the glories of the nations. I’ve been to places where God is so working that I long to see Him do the same through my church. I’ve also seen that many, many believers around the world have few of the blessings I have – and yet they serve God with joy and passion. In that light, my complaints that used to control my thinking are nothing but silliness.
- I’m learning that investing in others matters more than getting stuff. The “stuff” really does all stay behind when you die. And in the meantime, it takes a lot of effort and money to maintain it all. What matters more is: loving God; being obedient to Him in my personal, family, and professional life; telling others about Him; and investing in believers. The people who follow Christ after I’m gone will matter much more than the stuff I leave behind.
God’s a good God who loves me so much more than I could ever love Him. I’m learning that truth more every day.