Category Archives: Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel

Humility So Genuine

Humility.  This is a word that has been on my heart for a number of days now.  As we started the New Year, I’ve continued to dive deeper into Scripture and working hard at walking with God deeper with scripture, prayer, and journaling my thoughts as I role through the morning.  On Saturday, as I continued my read through Philippians.  Something big stood out to me from Philippians 2.  The humility of Jesus.  Paul tells us to be humble, thinking of others over ourselves. In verse 5 that he writes that we must have the attitude that Jesus had.  Verses 6-8 from the NLT read:humility

“Though He was God, he did not think of equality with as something to cling to.  Instead, He gave up his divine privileges (emptied himself); He took the humble position of a slave and He was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

This thought has crossed my mind before, but God really spoke this into my heart this week.  Humility.  The true humility of Jesus is something that we should look to have in our own lives.  I just found this so powerful to think about.  Here is Jesus.  As Paul writes, He is God, yet, Jesus came as fully man.  In his book, Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge, lays it out this way…

“The eternal Son of God, ‘Light of Light, Very God of Very God…one substance with the Father, spent nine months developing in Mary’s uterus.  Jesus passed through her birth canal. He had to learn to walk. The Word of God had to learn talk.  He who calls the stars by name had to learn the names of everything, just as you did. ‘This is a cup. Can you say cup? Cuuup.'”

It’s so fascinating to think about how this man, Jesus, humbled himself so much to walk on even playing field.  But think about it.  In order to open the way for us all, He needed to.  We were lost before Jesus, but the Father had us in mind from before the foundations of the earth and has been pursuing us since.  Jesus walking as the perfect lamb of God, fully human, although He was God showed us what we were always meant to be as God’s sons and daughters.  Our story did not begin at the Fall.  It goes way before that, to what we were created to be, inheriting a kingdom created and set aside for us.  Jesus came to restore us, so that we could once again claim that inheritance if we choose to follow Him.washing-feet-statue-2

As this was on my heart, it was very cool to hear the teaching Sunday morning, which went into John 13.  When I learned we were going there, I was floored, I knew God was really speaking this to me.  Here, Jesus gives us an example of his humility as he washes the feet of his disciples including Judas, even though Jesus knew he would betray Him.  Jesus humbled himself to serve others in this manner.  He says in verse 14 and 15, “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to was each other’s feet. I have give you an example to follow.  Do as I have done to you.”  Jesus is showing us the humility that we should have in our lives.  Not putting ourselves above others.  Not striving for position or title, but rather living as who we are in Christ.

When I look back on my life, there was a time when I was all about striving for my own successes.  Making it to those high positions.  Striving for higher success and thinking that this was what mattered in life.  More degrees, greater position, higher salary, etc.  I have been humbled so much though in realizing that all of that led me to nothing.  This is because none of my efforts were done with the motives of serving Jesus and serving others, other than my own success and supporting my family.

God has shown me another way and is leading me in a way to serve others, serve Him, and seek the lost for His kingdom.  How humbling that all becomes.  I was reading and journaling yesterday morning and I came up with this.  “A life of self-reliance leads to emptiness and death. A life reliant on Jesus leads to a life of freedom, breakthrough, restoration, and coming fully alive.”  If we put our own self-centered ambitions above everything else, we will be humbled very quickly in the end and will be left with nothing.

I think God put this on my heart to remind me that I all I am doing needs to be done with Him as my motive.  Helping me to remember to not put myself above others. As Tim shared on Sunday, to seek God, not titles or position.  Even as a developing counselor and with the work God is leading me toward, it can be so easy to exalt myself in that and seek position, whether in a counseling practice, church, or wherever simply to make myself standout.  God’s reminding me that my efforts need to be only to seek His glory and advance His kingdom, not my own.

I’m grateful for this reminder God gave me.  I pray that it helps you as well.  Look at the humility of Jesus.  He is the example to follow.  Don’t think yourself above others.  None of us are are greater than the other.  We are all fallen. We are all sinners given a chance to be restored in through the finished works of Jesus Christ.

“The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.” – Augustine

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A Thankful Heart

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I pondered this post for a few days.  Thinking exactly where I would focus as we draw closer to Thanksgiving.  When I look over my life and all that is around me, it fills me with a thankful heart.  I have been blessed with such a beautiful wife that is such a beautiful soul.  A true Proverbs 31 woman in my life.  We’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful kids.  They are our pride and joy.  My boys are the apple of my eye and my daughter is my delight.  Proud of all 3 of them.  We’ve gone through a lot together as a family and we’ve made it through storms together.  I’m very thankful to the Lord for having each of them in my life.

There are so many other things I can call out to be thankful for.  The biggest thing above all things, however has to be full and complete transformation.  I can stand here today and say that 2015 has been a year of complete transformation, not just for me, but for my family.  Jesus took a hold of my life this year like I had never imagined possible and boy oh boy, this is just the beginning of what I can tell already will be an exciting life of following Him and leading the lost to Him.

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Through all of this transformation, through all of this change, there are so many things, just in this short period of time that I can point to and that am very thankful for.  I am thankful for my church family at The Cross Loganville.  My pastor, Tim Cash, and the rest of the team, our men’s ministry, the awesome small group Amber and I joined, and all the connections and friendships we have made so far.  Truly blessed to be walking with such an awesome body of believers.  They’ve welcomed us in and have been very instrumental to our lives.

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I’m thankful for Ransomed Heart Ministries, led by John Eldredge, and the opportunity to attend the Wild At Heart Boot Camp in Colorado.  This was the pivotal life changing moment for me.  One that God was prepping me for through many encounters right up to the day I left and I knew He was really leading me to, because of the spiritual warfare I dealt with before I left.  When I made it there, however, I was able to let go.  My life completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as I stood in those mountains and I knew I would never be the same.

I’m thankful for the change of my heart to know I needed to follow Jesus into the unknown.  To live the unscripted life and follow Him to wherever He is leading.  I’ve always lived a life with a plan about where I was headed.  I can no longer do that and since then, there is so much freedom in knowing God is now leading the way, not me.  I go myself out of the way and stopped trying to control things that were not in my control and let Him take control.

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I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend Liberty University to pursue a Masters in Counseling.  Something I never thought I would do, but somehow, I feel as if God has been leading me here for many years through the many encounters I’ve had and the moments of counsel that I have given to others.  I never recognized it until this year, but once did, He put me on the fast track.  I’ve been blessed with great teaching, great fellowship when getting to go on campus, and great Christ centered learning and development.  Truly excited to see what the Lord is going to do with my life through all of this.

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I could honestly go on and on and on here.  All of this points to what the Lord has done in my life since I surrendered completely to Him.  He’s been leading me back to Him for the last few years and this was the year He decided it was time to unleash.  The transformation for my life has transformed my home.  Seeing my kids light up, but most of all seeing my bride light up.  Now watching her day after day getting into the Word on her own and journaling.  Seeing her build up the courage to break out of her shyness to fellowship and know others in our church family and building the courage to share what is a very powerful story.  She just glows in it as I see her eagerness to grow and know God.  Of that I am also very thankful.

2015 has been the Lords year for me and family.  He’s taken the reigns and is leading us into the unknown.  It’s no longer about living the good, comfortable, content, and ‘successful’ life.  It’s about living the unscripted life that follows where we are led.  My heart is very thankful for this transformation and where He takes us from here.

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I want to wish every one of you a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Discerning Truth and Growing

We had a powerful teaching at church yesterday regarding the subject of discernment and being able to tell what is truth from what is false.  For so many, this is a difficulty.  There are so many twisted teachings out there and compromised Scripture.  We see it on TV with those teaching the prosperity gospel and then in our local churches as well.  I wrote on this recently that there are so many attempts to compromise Scripture in order to make it fit into our social norms and cultural post-modern thinking that has become so prevalent today.

Our job as followers of Christ is to be able to learn and know what Truth is.  To be able to use Scripture as the testing block of all that we do and all that is thrown our way.  1 John 4:1 calls for us to test the spirit of everything.  Again, that’s everything.  It doesn’t matter where the teaching comes from.  We have a responsibility to be able to know and understand the Truth ourselves and not just trust someones word at face value.

When talking with my pastor and some guys last week about this coming teaching, a revelation hit me regarding the subject of discernment.  One point that was made is that discernment is essential for spiritual growth.  Years before I knew about Jesus, but didn’t know Him.  I knew what He did to save us, but didn’t really understand the full scope of His works.  I didn’t know God the Father and I didn’t know the Holy Spirit.  I never took time to really dive into God’s Word.  My level of knowledge was on surface level teachings from Sunday School growing up or things I saw on TV.  Essentially there was no growth in my life.

As into adulthood, with no significant backdrop in the faith and not real knowledge of discerning Truth, I easily swayed with the wind.  If there was a new teaching or some new enlightenment, it would be easy for me to almost believe, depending on what it was.  I didn’t know the Word and I didn’t know real Truth.

4 years ago, I began reading Scripture for the first time in my life.  Not for significant study, but to just read through it.  To know the stories of the Bible and learn a deeper understanding of what I now see as a 66 book love story laid out for us.

Since that time, I began to start studying deeper.  Reading through 3 times straight and them changing things up to get a deeper understanding and begin to connect prophecy to fulfillment and more.  Essentially, I was starting to understand and starting to discern Truth.  For the first time in my life, I now have a greater understanding and ability to stand on the Truth of the Scriptures and be able to test the spirits of things I hear.

As I said, discernment is essential for spiritual growth.  I could have easily spent a life of just spinning my wheels and not knowing Truth.  All this does is lead to death.  I was reading through something I wrote many months ago and am reminded of the journey God now has me on.  I can’t not be all in and not grow in Truth and intimacy with God.  Knowing Truth and being able to speak the Truth enables a closer relationship with God.  Because of this growth, I now know Jesus and have a deeper understanding of His works.  I know God the Father as my Father who through Christ has now called me son,  and I know the Holy Spirit and call on Him for guidance and counsel now every single day.

Once you know the Truth of God and what He has revealed in His Word, there is no way you can’t not be all in.  I thankful that God has blessed me with discernment and I pray for this to continue each day.  I pray that for each one of you to know the Truth for yourselves and then once you do, don’t compromise it for the sake of this world.

God’s Using The Round Table

I continue to get astounded by God’s lead and the way I continue to see Him working my life.  I had worried about falling back to “life as usual” in the months following Wild At Heart, where God pierced my heart to heal me and bring me to life like I’d never known.  With each passing day I seem to learn something new.  Something that just magnifies the glory of God in my life and the life and freedom that is now my through Jesus Christ.  One of these ways has been my Round Table.

When I was alone with God in Colorado, one of the things he put on my heart is the identity of King Arthur and the knights of the round table.  It was rather amazing to feel that on my heart.  In the weeks, prior, I was in our men’s Bible Study and it first hit me there.  I was a lone ranger.  I did life alone or with just my wife.  Didn’t lean to other men for counsel and to really do life with.  I wrote about this in late February in my post “The Round Table.”  Since then, God has shown it to be of great significance to my life as it should be for all of us.

I believe the circles we keep are very vital to our own growth with God.  Having people in our lives that we can trust to be honest with us, not just blow smoke with what we want to hear, and will be there to support and love you through your circumstances.  I think this is huge.  I’m finding those people each day.  Guys I go to worship with, my pastor(s), the guys from Colorado that I now connect with regularly.  Huge part of life and so thankful God has placed these guys here as a part of my round table.

It’s ironic we started a series at church on circles in our life, starting with God and then spreading outward to our family/marriage, friends, etc.  I believe these circles are vital and I believe this is part of the reason God put the round table on my heart, to show me this shortfall and trust that He was placing men in my life I could now trust and turn to.

Here is another example of how vital the round table has been.  In the last couple of months, I made the decision to return to school as I feel that God is calling me into christian counseling and even ministry.  Not sure of what would be the right program, I just chose one to get in the door.  Since then, my pastor/friend/mentor Tim, connected me with a good friend, who is also a christian counselor who sat with me to talk with me about this road and advise me on it.  HUGE!  He helped me to hone in on where I should go, based on my desires and how God is leading.  So now, I am pursuing a Masters in Professional Counseling with the goal of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor over the next few years.  This will open up great opportunities for reaching peoples and counseling them from the Biblical perspective of trust and in the 4 Streams of Walking with God, Receiving God’s Counsel, Deep Restoration and Healing, and Spiritual Warfare.  I am truly excited about what God is doing and how he has used the round table to counsel me and steer me.

You see, 5 years ago, I started working on a Doctorate in Business.  With no real direction here, I just did it.  People would cheer me on through it, but in reality, I was doing it for wrong reasons after I lost my Dad in an effort to gain focus in my life again, but never received real solid counsel on this.  I didn’t have round table.  There have been other things I done in life in the same manner.  Just doing, but not seeking advice on anything from people or from God.

Again, I look at Scripture in this category too.  All throughout, we see people who have their circles to go through life with.  Most notably, look at Jesus.  He had his inner circle, those closes to Him, His 12, and then other disciples further out from the circle who were sent out.  These people were a significant part of Jesus.  Jesus taught them along the way through His earthly ministry to prepare them for the mission of spreading the Good News to the world after His death to defeat sin, His resurrection to defeat death and give new life, and ascension to the throne with all authority over heaven and earth now His.  His circles very significant, which leads me to believe it’s significant for us as well to as we are now alive in Christ.

I share all this because I believe my testimony here and in other circumstances are significant for all our lives.  God puts the round table in our lives because we are not meant to go through life as lone rangers.  I know there are many of you out there.  When you trust God and put that aside, the way He works in this is so amazing.  You’ll never figure it all out, known of us will, but when you let go and trust Him, He can use you in so many ways for His glory and the freedom we can gain from loving God enough to choose Him first is amazing.  We need people to guide us in this and there are people that need each of us too.  Trust in it and let God use your round table.   I have found, that when you go through life with others, we’ll be amazed at just how closely related we are in our brokenness and sin in the fact that we’re all jacked in someway but can walk through it all together to allow the healing of Christ to enter each of us.  We don’t have to do any of it alone.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”   C.S. Lewis

Diving Deeper – Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel

An important part of our journey the 4 Streams.  It’s import to remember what is the purpose behind it all.  What is the offer that God has given to us through Jesus Christ?  This is restoration.  Pure restoration of our hearts as his image bearers as both men and women.  Again, these 4 Streams are key essentials to that restoration.  Isaiah 61; Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  Again, John Eldredge lays all of this out clearly his book “Waking the Dead.”  It’s all essential for growth and restoration in our brokenness.

Today, I am going to deeper dive into the stream of Counseling, or rather Seeking God’s Intimate Counsel.  This is so critical as it touches the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit learning to invite God’s Spirit into the depths of heart.  As with the other streams, this one stems from first learning to walk with God.  All the streams are interrelated in some way, but we have to be able to know how to walk with God to learn to seek his counsel, healing, and deal with warfare.  Dallas Willard says, “God created us for intimate friendship with himself-both now and forever.” This goes beyond just reading Scripture.  We have to talk to God and invite him in.

So back to counseling, I believe this is very critical for all of us.  Counseling involves seeking truth in our hearts both from God and those that God uses to counsel us.  Psalm 51 says that God desires truth in our innermost being.  If have not read Psalm 51, check it out.  This is after David had his affair with Bathsheda.  He is broken now.  This Psalm is where he lays out his whole confession.  He is seeking God for his counsel. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit” (vs 12).  He is seeking God’s counsel and inviting into himself.  He is laying it all out for God and allowing God to come deep down into his heart to restore him.

It takes the intervention of God to get down deep into our hearts to show us what we may not know was there.  To show us things in our brokenness that we either tried to forget or with all that goes on in life probably never even recognized it.  We have to be able to allow God in so that he can bring us to the place of our brokenness and then bring us to the fourth stream of healing, which I will cover next time.

In John 14:16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”   This Helper is the Holy Spirit.  Our Counselor, Comforter, Strength, and Guide.  Jesus offers the Holy Spirit to those that know him and the Holy Spirit is here to take us in those place in our heart that we don’t know.  The story and journey of our life is what has happened to our heart along the way.  What has brought about our brokenness?  What have have we let define us up till now?  The Holy Spirit is hear to help counsel through that and to discern the truth in our hearts.

So what does God do to counsel us and get to the core of our brokenness?  As with the other streams, I am learning each day.  What I have learned so far, as that he will get at us in different ways. Often times, it involves taking us back to the pain of our brokenness once it’s discovered.  John Eldredge said that “Usually what has been laid now in pain in our hearts can usually only be accessed by pain.  God will take us right back into our wounds.”  He will do this in different ways, too.

One of the first times I remember God doing this was just one normal day.  I have been on a journey for these last few years, but never got after my brokenness in anyway.  I was just sitting at my computer working in my home office.  I had some worship music come on.  Actually this happened twice.  The first time, Jeremy Camp’s song “I’ll Take You Back” came on.  If you have not heart it, go listen to it.  I just listened to the words and tears just began to flow.  God was getting right into my heart with the offer to take me back.  A few weeks later, it happened again, I had music on and this time it was the song by The Afters called “Broken Hallelujah”  It hit me again.  I knew God was up to something in me.  So fast forward a few months to the Wild At Heart Bootcamp and all I can say is, WOW.  The work God was doing in me and where he was going in my heart was finally evident to me.  He went right down in my brokenness.  He showed me wounds I didn’t even recognize.  He showed me the brokenness in my sin as well that I never wanted to accept.  It was painful, but God went right back in there because that was the only way to confront it, confess, fully repent, and allow God to heal me.

Jesus did this very same thing to Peter at the Sea of Galilee in John 21 after his resurrection.  First in a playful manner, he appears to them just as he first did to Peter when they first met.  They weren’t catching anything fishing.  Jesus again calls to them to cast their nets on the other side and this time they could not even haul in their nets.  At this point when John points to Peter that it’s Jesus, in such joy, he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore to him.  Jesus hung with the guys and invited them to have breakfast.  After eating Jesus does the work on Peter as follows in versus 15-17:

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

You see what Jesus did here.  Peter was already broken after having denied Jesus 3 times after Jesus was arrested.  Jesus went right back into his brokenness.  It was painful for Peter, but it was necessary to bring it out and restore Peter.  This is how Jesus counseled him.  He went right back into Peter’s wounds.  He did the same thing to me when he went into my wounds.  He will do the same for if you’re willing.  You have to let him in first.  We also have to accept our brokenness for what it is.  Michael Yaconneli said, “Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.”

If we seek to walk with God this will allow him into the deepest works of our hearts and allow him to counsel us and give us back our hearts.  Proverbs 20:5 says, “A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”  Walking with God will allow him to give us understanding of the broken places in our hearts that we not even recognize or know they are they are.  With understanding of our wounds, sins, and agreements we’ve made, we can draw those things out of the deep water, address them and allow God to heal us.

God will also use others to counsel us in different ways.  Maybe not always directly, but in the interactions we have.  If we are open and receptive to it, we can begin to see what God is telling us.  Notice how you react out people.  Do you shrink back, do you hide, do you come alive more, etc?  Maybe God’s telling you something here as well.  This is where the false self may really come out.  Go deeper into that and ask God what to do with that and what makes you react that way.  This can be added counsel as well.  Ever since the fall of Adam, something in every one of us is missing.  Figure out what’s missing.

Just know this, Jesus is always ministering to us.  Even if we can’t seek professional counseling or pastoral counseling, God’s counsel is always available.  Don’t just accept the lies that come out of our wounds.  Don’t listen to the false self.  John Eldredge added in his teaching of the counseling stream that “The story of your heart and life is the long and sustained assault by the one who knows who you are and who you could be, and fears you.”  The enemy is out to assault our hearts and plant himself in our wounds.  Seek God’s counsel through it all.  He is present throughout the tangledness of our lives.  Let him in.  Sometimes we may need the professional help, but always know God is willing and able to counsel us and through Jesus has offered his Spirit for us, and will be with us forever.

Seeking the Counsel That We Need

In this world we are filled with joys and sorrows.  We have things that happen to us through the years that seem to define who we become, whether right or wrong. We suffer from wounds that drive many of the choices we make and even the sin we live in.  Those wounds often get buried deep in our hearts for a long time.  We hide behind our fig leafs and those things never come to the surface.  We don’t let anyone in and then we let those wounds define a false self in us and for the world to see.  This could be wounds you suffered from your parents, siblings and other family, anyone else around you.  When they hit you as a kid they hurt.  You may not realize it, but they really begin to take hold of your life.

I’ve suffered through many of my own wounds.  Many I suppressed for a long time.  I bared a great deal of weight on my shoulders and tried so hard to prove myself in my family life and work life.  I realized I was missing a key part of it all.  God.  I came to believe in Christ long ago, but it was not until my 30s until my life really began to point more seriously toward him.  Now at 36, I’ve crossed a whole new bridge as I’ve come to realize that I really needed Jesus to get down deep into my heart to uncover those wounds so that they could be brought to the surface and nailed to Cross for good.  Jesus wants to restore our hearts.  He came to make our hearts new.  We have to be willing to let him though.  We have to open the door to let him in.  He opened the door to our salvation already now we have to let Him come in and heal us so we can walk through that door.

While I was in Colorado, Jesus dove way down deep in to my heart.  I had wounds in there I never wanted to admit or let out, but things that completely defined the false self I became for the first part of adulthood.  It hurt like I had never hurt before.  The thing was, this is exactly what I needed.  I needed the Lord to dig into my heart.  As I walked in communion with him I heard him initiating me into the man he new that I was. The man that I was meant to be all along.  I was never fully initiated into manhood and grew up faster than I should have.  Now I could hear the Father calling me HIS SON.  I was HIS SON and he called me out to be the warrior and the man I was meant to be.  Truly amazing the intimate counseling that He offers us.

Ephesians 4:23 says to “let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”  I think I referenced this in my last post, but it is so true.  If you let the Holy Spirit in.  If you let God into your heart and into your wounds he will renew your thoughts and your attitudes. Verse 24 says, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”  When we allow him fully into our lives to counsel and heal us, we come closer to the Father.  We are his image bearers and being renewed in him gives us our new and true nature.

This does not just stop with my trip out to Colorado though.  I now know I need to seek God’s counsel for so much more.  When wounds begin to resurface or when struggles come that seem to pull me down, I know I can walk with God and talk with him.  He will pull me from the struggles I find myself in.  None of us have to live in the dark places of our wounds.  Many choose to, but we don’t have to and Christ set us free from the enemies grip on us and our wounds.  We are told in Colossians 2, that Jesus disarmed the angels of darkness.  We don’t have to bound to them any longer or let them dwell in our wounds.  Christ won that battle.

God knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).  He knows exactly where we are in our life and Jesus came to restore our hearts.  In order to do so however, we must let him come to where we are and into our wounds.  He won’t leave us there if we trust him, though.  The pain will be temporary and you will come alive from that.  I’ve never felt as alive as I do right now and I’m fired up to where God is leading.  I needed his counseling first in order to come to where I am.

“God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.”  – Max Lucado

You Can’t Do This Alone

Everyday I find that I am a learning something new about myself and about my relationship with God.  I have been on a journey these last 4 years getting to truly learn about God, drawing closer to Him, and being more intentional about my faith.  It has not always been easy.  Last year, was a big step forward for my family and me in our growth and in our faith.  We connected with a body of believers that we’ve absolutely grown to love and worship with.  Then about middle of last years, life began to interfere and we drew away for a short time.  Toward the end of the year we drew ourselves back in and have made it a point as a family to become even more intentional about our faith.

Last week, I had a serious gut check of myself and how I was going about things.  I knew this all along, but it really hit me as I sat in my Men’s Ministry Group.  I have been a Lone Ranger for way too long.  For most of the last few years since I began to get more serious about my faith in Christ, I have done things alone.  I studied scripture on my own, read through many books of faith on my own.  Prayed and conversed with God on my own and dealt with my own issues and sins on my own.  I have my wife and together we would have our moments and discussions, but to be honest, we weren’t always on the same page and I was guilty of trying to force her growth, spiritually rather than letting her grow in her faith the way she needed to.

For both of us, though, we realized there was an element missing, especially for me.  I never had anyone outside my marriage, no other men in my life that I could do life with and converse with about my faith regularly and help me in my growth.  I was doing things on my own.  We were doing things on our own.  A lot of that stems from being married as young as we were and our goals to make in on our own.  We both have friends, but not, especially me, no one that I would connect with on a deeper level of spiritual accountability and faith.

So what’s my point here?  The point is you can’t do it all on your own.  Yes, there is a lot of spiritual growth that must be individual.  We need our alone times to converse with God, we need that solitude.  I am going to Colorado this week a lot for that purpose.  I’ll talk more about that later.  But, the simple fact is that we cannot do it all on our own.  We need to be connected with others of faith.  When we can connect in this manner it will stimulate our growth and connection with God even more.  I’ve missed out on that aspect, a lot because I just never would seek out those connections.

Look all through Scripture.  People had there connections to help them along.  Jesus had his disciples.  The Apostles had the support of one another and so much more.  It goes beyond just sitting in groups and worship once or twice a week.  We need to do life with others.  It is essential for our own growth and sanity.  Doesn’t mean it’s always roses and sunshine.  It’s a lesson I’ve been learning and slowly coming toward.  It’s been out of my comfort zone as introverted as I am , but I think very essential and I am making this a point to become even more intentional in this area of my faith