There is something to be said for relying on a strong foundation; a rock when life seems like it is slipping out from under you. If you are looking to strengthen your relationship with God and uncover your spiritual gifts, here are five things you can do today.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship with God
1. Humble Yourself and PrayPrayer is more than reciting words. It’s a chance for you to have a conversation with God. You can pray at any time throughout the day, but you may want to consider starting your day off in prayer. When you open your eyes in the morning and turn off your alarm, thank God for another day. Thank Him for your family, friends, your home and transportation, your work, and any other blessings.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine that we forget how truly blessed we are. By taking time in the morning (and again before you drift off to sleep at night), you will keep these positives centered in your mind.
Ask God to continue to bless and protect you and your family. This is also a great time to ask Him for help in keeping your mind focused on His will for your life. Sometimes by asking Him, we suddenly begin to see opportunities in front of us.
2. Read and Study Your Bible
Think of your Bible as a handbook. There is more about how to live your life within the pages than you may realize. Books like Proverbs and the letters to the churches (such as Ephesians and Philippians) teach you how to live the Christian life. The Bible is full of life lessons.
You can find Jesus’ teachings throughout the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and then follow the disciples’ teachings in the rest of the New Testament. The Old Testament introduces you to Jesus’ lineage and stories of people of great faith. The more you mature in God’s Word, the less you will allow external factors to cause you to falter.
If you can, try to delve deeply into a particular book, either through a group Bible study class or online so you can glean some nuggets of truth. This will also make clearer how this truth applies to your life.
3. Join a Group of Like-Minded BelieversThe fellowship is important, not only for your sense of belonging and acceptance but also for your spiritual growth as a Christian. Whether it’s a local church group, a Bible study class in someone’s home, or an online group, you can find like-minded believers to share thoughts and testimonies.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to locate Christian groups that meet based on another interest as well. This can include Christian book clubs, Christian therapy groups, or faith-based fitness classes.
There is a saying that you become like the five people you choose to hang around. Choose people who are strong in their relationship with God and who can help your spiritual growth as a Christian.
4. Do for Others
Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” in Matthew 7:12 (New King James Version).
Do unto others. We’ve heard the command, but how often do we follow it? And how can serving others bring you closer to God?
Caring and serving others is what Jesus did while here on Earth as an example of how God wants us to live. Will people hurt and betray us? Yes. They hurt and betrayed Jesus too. He still reached out and pointed others to God. By feeding and clothing the helpless, we are feeding Jesus’ chosen. Jesus said to Peter after He’d asked him three times if he loved Him, “Feed my sheep.”
Feed my sheep. It is our responsibility to care for others and to be the Lord’s hands and feet. Obedience is key to a closer relationship with God. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15 New International Version).
However, this doesn’t mean you need to keep your arms in the fire if you are the victim of abuse. You can forgive others and still distance yourself from toxic relationships. If you need help, please consider speaking with a Christian Counselor who can point you toward living a Christian life with healthy relationships.
5. Seek Out Your Spiritual Gifts
The Bible mentions that each Christian has been given spiritual gifts. Did you know this can mean more than just physical healing and speaking in tongues? Those are two of the primary gifts mentioned in the Bible.
You have also been given discernment, wisdom, faith, knowledge and the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. Some of the gifts have to do with your calling. You have the ability to strengthen these skills with certain activities. If you are aware of the spiritual gifts that God has given you, you can focus on aligning those with your purpose and serving others as a means of strengthening your relationship with God.
These are the traits and skills that are natural to you. Do you love to serve others, maybe with home visits or preparing food? Do you naturally take on the role of a teacher? Do you tell others about Jesus Christ on a regular basis?
Some of the other spiritual gifts you may come across in yourself and others include:
- Leadership– Are you the one everyone looks to in a situation? Are you more of a leader who takes initiative than a follower?
- Administration – Do you like to take charge over a church event if no one else is leading it? Are you likely to delegate tasks to others and organize groups and events?
- Teaching – Does it bother you when someone quotes Scripture out of context? Do you find yourself knowing you could teach others on a specific topic?
- Evangelism – Do you share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others routinely? Do you mentor others to do the same?
- Shepherding – Do you care and serve others while also teaching or leading? Do you feel responsible for the people God has placed under your care?
- Prophecy – Do you feel the Holy Spirit provides you with unique insight into a person or group? Are you able to speak boldly with Biblical truths?
- Serving – Do you focus on meeting the needs of others in your church and community? Do you like to work on hands-on projects?
- Mercy– Do you empathize with others who are hurting and seeking comfort? Are you able to provide a safe space for a friend who is grieving or who is in pain?
- Exhortation – Do you counsel people with practical and Bible-based solutions? Can you see the larger vision behind a problem and offer solutions?
- Giving – Do you go beyond tithes and offerings, and find ways to support ministries with financial giving? Do you give your time and money anonymously so as to not “show off,” but to further the kingdom of God?
You can find various online questionnaires that will provide you with insight into your top spiritual gifts, such as the one from churchgrowth.org.
Consider scheduling a meeting with a Spiritual Development Counselor who can help you create a plan to further develop each one of your gifts. If you uncover the top three gifts God has blessed you with for ministry, then you can focus on serving others while also fulfilling your purpose.
When you are in a spiritual awakening of these gifts, everything will begin to feel aligned. As you continue to work on these, your relationship with God will grow. Find others who foster the same gifts as you who can mentor you. For example, a person with the spiritual gift of teaching who likes to write may work with a Bible study author to produce material for their church ministry.
Make a commitment to incorporate each one of these into your spiritual growth plan on a daily basis. There really is nothing more important than your spiritual awakening and relationship with God. We pray that as you become more empowered in your spiritual life that you will take that confidence out into the world.
“Crescent Moon”, Courtesy of Randy Fath, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Brown Leaf”, Courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Woman in Red”, Courtesy of Vino Li, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Woman by the Water”, Courtesy of Neal E. Johnson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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