I have just returned home from a truly spirit filled week at momentum.
There was so much power in joining with thousands of others praising Jesus, seeing Him move, and hearing stories of how faithful He is, and has been.
After the olympics finished a few weeks ago i truly felt incomplete. My thrilling entertainment for 14 days had come to an end. I’d no longer be able to cry with pride at team GB’s achievements, i would no longer feel enthused to go for a run, no more Tom Daley or Usain Bolt on my screen, and even though i would have my evenings back…what would i do with them?!
This feeling of deflation is common, and i have felt this before after many Christian events. We go, have a mountaintop experience, dance before Jesus, raise our hands in the air, pray audacious prayers, throw ourselves into reading the bible, and not surprisingly, we come away feeling in awe, invincible and closer to Jesus than ever.. perhaps? We go home and we tell all our friends how great God is, that he heals, restores, and saves, BUT then, a few weeks later we slowly crawl back into our shells. We take our worship hats off, and sink back into the mundane lull of life. We get carried along by the crowd, and it’s not until next year, when Momentum comes around again, (or a similar event) that we repeat this process.
God doesn’t want us to be like this. He is to be our first love all year round. We are to lift our hands in adoration daily, not yearly. It is of course easier said than done, i know- but we will stifle our relationship with Jesus and remain stagnant if we do not continually seek him.
Many of you reading this probably haven’t even been to momentum but I’m sure you know the feeling I’m talking about, and hopefully what i’l say next may help!
Routine is key.
My week away from electronic devices made me realise what a time waster i really am. i can easily spend two hours on the computer faffing about, and then when it comes to reading my bible or praying i make excuses why i can only give God ten or twenty minutes of my time. We have time, we all have time, and we all have time to full fill everything in God’s plan for us.
So, before you go back to wasting your time googling pictures of Harry styles, learning the lyrics to ‘I want it that way’ by the Backstreet Boys, or, watching countless episodes of ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen’ (I have done all these in the past). Ask yourself, have you prayed today? Have you thanked God today? What have you done for His glory today?
We can achieve so much if we start as we mean to go on, and get into a routine before we lose sight once more. Set aside time each day, write a prayer list etc. etc. It takes 21 days to form a habit so gather focus and do it! You will soon see the benefits of spending and emerging yourself in the word, and instead of a feeling of deflation you can maintain a feeling of fulfilment in God.
Experience God in new ways.
We all experience God in different ways. Gary Thomas has written a great book called ‘Sacred Pathways’ where he speaks and defines a range of different ways in which people can feel connected to or experience God. Some find reading a struggle, and so spending hours reading Christian books would not be beneficial, but placing them in the midst of God’s creation may make them feel especially close to God. Some people love mornings, and like to start the day off by spending time with God then, others prefer the evenings. Find what suits you best and make this into your routine. God is not an addition, he should be at the centre of our lives.
Make yourself accountable to someone.
Proverbs 27:17 reads- ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ We have family and friends surrounding us to help build us each other up and encourage us. I was accountable to someone this past year, and it really did make so much difference. You feel let down if you don’t keep your word, I didn’t trust only my own judgement but had advice from another. Accountability helps protect us from sin, pride, isolation, and can prevent us from giving into temptation. Proverbs 28:26 says that ‘he who trusts in himself is a fool’. It’s true. If you worry you won’t be able to keep to a bible reading plan, or that you struggle to remember to pray etc. Tell someone else your plans and help them to encourage you to stay hungry for God.
Have a purpose.
I have found over the past few years that if there is a purpose to my time with God I am far more productive. For instance Friday is specifically prayer for my Family and Friends, Wednesdays for the World, Tuesday for Thanksgiving, and Thursday for Thirsts etc. I work best with structure, some of you may not however! Bible readings help me to tackle manageable chunks of the bible with a thought instead of feeling out of my depth and aimlessly finding a place to start reading each day. Having a journal for thoughts, verses, words etc really helps.
Purpose for me is production.
Be honest with God.
I had spent so many years hiding my heart away from God and not baring all to him. Last year i felt a huge freedom in letting him into every aspect of my life through prayer. God know’s us better than we know ourselves, so there is no shame in this. We are failed human beings at the end of the day, but if we come to God with a thirst for Him, He will fills us.
John Bunyan wrote: “In prayer, it is better to have heart without words, than words without heart. Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin entice a man to cease from prayer. The spirit of prayer is more precious than treasures of gold and silver. Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
So, let’s make Jesus our first love forever on.