1. Carve out a time for prayer in your busy schedule.
My friend in college said no matter what was happening, there was a specific time reserved for God alone and his appointment was more important than anyone else. I find that admirable and noteworthy of imitating.
This world has so many distractions. Smartphones, social media, television, the internet, etc. Carving out a time to pray, even if it’s for just 5 minutes, will make a huge difference in your relationship with God.
2. Meditate daily on God’s Word.
King David writes his first psalm, sharing with the world that the blessed man is one who meditates on the Law day and night (Ps. 1). When we meditate on Scripture and introspect on its wisdom and truth, it affects our outward character immensely.
3. Attend church service weekly.
When we neglect to worship with our local church, opportunities for spiritual growth can suffer. That’s why it’s important to attend church services weekly in order to maintain a strong relationship with God and others.
The Pew Research Center has shown a steady decline in members worshipping consistently every week, from 2007 (39%) to 2014 (36%). While this doesn’t seem like a significant percentage drop, I personally know of pastors and churches who have tried to accommodate the best they can to get their members to be committed to their church.
4. Read a Bible passage at dinner and discuss it with your family.
There is a great resource from Crosswalk that gives 11 tips for studying the Bible at dinner time with your family. A few of these include: asking for prayer requests, encouraging your children to talk about how their day went, having the parents co-lead the discussion, and finding relevant ways to share the gospel as a family.
5. Serve your local homeless community.
When I was serving as an associate pastor in Indiana, I made sure that we served the local homeless community. The reason for this is because James says pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and widows in distress. In other words, the outcast, the people who are most vulnerable in society. I feel like the homeless community is part of this group, even if they are not all orphans or widows.
6. Explore nature and be thankful.
Romans 1:20 states: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” When we explore God’s creation, it reminds us of his power, grace, and love.
7. Study various theological positions.
This is crucial. When I went to seminary, we were only drilled in the Calvinistic position. I found this to be one of the weaknesses of the school I went to. It was very narrow-minded. Instead, you should study various theological positions that challenge your own so that you can be confident in whatever doctrinal position you take. This will help you grow in your relationship with God because you are studying to show thyself approved unto God (2 Tim. 2:15).
8. Limit your internet and television time.
Like I said before, there are many distractions in the modern age. While the internet can be a good thing, such as sharing the gospel or creatively writing on various topics, it can also be a place of wasting time.
I don’t know how many times I have looked up youtube videos, and about an hour later, I am just asking myself: “What am I doing with my life?” Surely I can be more productive than this. Therefore, how about we all agree to be more productive with our time by spending precious moments with God and family.
9. Exercise at least 3 times a week.
The apostle Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are to honor God with our bodies. By being a good steward of our physical health, we are worshipping God. Next time you lift weights or swim, just think to yourself: This is worship!
10. Place internet filters to protect you and your family.
Have you heard of Covenant Eyes? They are a ministry devoted to helping people fight against lust on the internet. They help you stay accountable to one another and protect your family from lewd content on the internet. The internet can be a dangerous place so it’s integral that you build a strong tower so that the deceitfulness of sin doesn’t creep into your lives.
11. Involve yourself with the city council.
Romans 13 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” God is concerned with the local government. He has instituted the city council as an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoers. Therefore, it is important to shine light in your city and be a leader in the community.
12. Pray for church members and people you encounter every day.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16).”
The church I attend prays before the service starts. I must admit that I haven’t gone but really need to. It’s vital to pray for the service and anoint the time for God to move in the congregation. When we labor in prayer, God will do mighty things!
13. Seek spiritual advice from elders at your church.
All brothers and sisters need spiritual advice from mature believers. This is why the intergenerational ministry is so important. When churches have missing generations, it is hard to equip one another to fulfill the great commission.
If you are young in the faith, find a pastor or mature elder in the church that can give you sound advice and resources for you to grow spiritually. And if you are a seasoned believer, invest in the youth. Teach them the power of God. Share examples of how God has changed your life!
14. Share your faith with unbelievers.
God has a heart for the lost. The Bible teaches that the Lord is not willing that anyone perishes, but all come to faith and repentance. We must share our faith with unbelievers. The boldest prayer I know is this: “Lord, open up an opportunity for me to share my faith.” I promise you God loves to answer this prayer!
Greg Laurie has a great book called How to Share Your Faith. It’s a short and easy to understand booklet on how to grow in your confidence and ability to share the redemption found in Jesus.
15. Help out orphans and widows in your congregation.
Orphans and widows are vulnerable people. They need assistance and protection. When we act like God, who is our shield and protector, we conform more into His image. By conforming to Christ, we grow spiritually in our relationship. Find a widow who needs a crying shoulder or caring person to listen to them.
16. Make disciples in your church and family.
When we think about the great commission of sharing the gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation, we get so outwardly focused. Yes, it’s vital to make disciples outside your sphere of influence. However, don’t neglect those closest to you.
If you have a wife, you should be ministering to her needs. If you have children, do not neglect their spiritual walk with the Lord. I believe on the day of judgment, God is not going to ask you about all the strangers you shared the gospel with as much as he will say: “How did you invest in your wife?” “What did you do to make sure your sons and daughters served the living God?” I believe this is something our modern age neglects.
17. Go on a mission trip, whether local, national, or global.
I have been on a few mission trips, both nationally and globally. My first mission trip was in inner-city Chicago. We ran a sports club and summer camp, teaching kids the gospel and how to excel in athletics.
Another mission trip I went on was in Jamaica. Our group helped a local church start-up a vacation bible school. We also visited an orphanage, cleaned up roads, and shared our faith with people on the streets.
While mission trips do give you a stronger zeal to share your faith, it really builds your relationship with believers that you go on the trip with. It’s always great talking about the fond experiences you encountered on these trips, and it really grows your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
18. Consistently tithe your income.
Yes, this is indeed a tough topic to discuss, but Jesus talks more about money than faith and prayer combined. Can you believe this? I think this is because the Lord knows we can’t serve two masters: money and God. We must be devoted to one and not the other.
Of course, it’s okay to have wealth. Making money can give you ample opportunities to bless those around you. Being a cheerful giver is admirable. However, when finances become our idol, it can destroy us. Money can never buy us happiness or strengthen our relationship with God. God wants our hearts, not our money.
19. Obey God’s commands and repent of known sin.
Jesus said if you love me, obey my commandments (John 14:15). We demonstrate our love by honoring God’s rules and obeying His righteous decrees.
When my two sons obey me, It makes me feel respected and loved. When I tell them it’s time for dinner, and they keep watching Minecraft videos, I get upset. They are expressing a lack of respect for my authority.
But when they obey, it’s music to my ears. I believe the same is true in our relationship with God. He wants us to obey him not out of fear but because He loves us. He wants what is best for us. When we follow rules and listen, it will help protect us in this life.
20. Work hard at your secular job for the Lord.
Colossians 3:23 says it best: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Amen!
I know work can become mundane. Supervisors can get on our nerves or the workload can get overwhelming. However, Scripture makes it evident that when we work diligently, we are glorifying God. Remember this the next time you clock in. The same goes for me too!
21. Be empathetic and listen more.
Empathy is the new code word for how to treat people in the workplace. In fact, at the hospital I work at, we had to pass a role-playing test to confirm our ability to express empathy.
If the secular world finds listening skills and empathy to be integral for character success, then Christians should pass this test with flying colors. In fact, we should exceed their expectations.
22. Cheerfully give to the Lord.
The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). The moment we are excited to tithe and give our money away for the advancement of God’s kingdom is the start of something great. It not only shows the Lord that money is NOT your idol, but you are seeking first God’s will.
I must admit when I first began tithing I would give reluctantly. I didn’t make very much money and really wanted to use it to pay for school or save it up for a new phone instead of giving it to the church.
However, after seeing my wife give so cheerfully and faithfully, my attitude started to change. It doesn’t really matter in the end how much you make. What matters is that you do give, and give with the right attitude.
23. Confess your sins to others.
This is crucial. We hide sin because of our pride. None of us want to look bad in front of others. But it’s crucial to confess sins with one another because then you build transparency with God and others.
1 John 1 exclaims that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a marvelous truth. Confessing sins is part of being Christian.
If you are hiding sin, your sin will find you out (Num. 32:23). In other words, hiding sin never goes well. Eventually, it will get exposed so bring it to the light immediately and repent.
24. Avoid slander and gossip.
Titus 3:2 proclaims: “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Christians should have no part in slander, defamation, or gossip. Jesus said that we will give an account to every careless word we speak (Matt. 12:36).
These are strong warnings. I am tempted daily to gossip in the workplace. I must even confess now that this is a sin I have been involved with and am currently seeking to rid it of my conversations. Let’s all do our due diligence to avoid this evil.
25. Laugh and enjoy life.
Many times when I pray, I begin with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” God desires for us to enjoy the life he has given to us. Life is a gift from Almighty God. We should treasure every moment.
Are you laughing and enjoying your life? It’s good for the soul. King Solomon makes this clear in Proverbs 17:22. “A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” So remember next time your soul is downcast that finding joy in the Lord is the best cure!