We've all admired–probably envied–someone who enjoys a very close and personal relationship with Jesus. Full of zeal, they're teeming with love, joy, and peace–even though they face the same challenges we do–often bigger problems.
We've all no doubt wondered, "What are those people doing differently than me?" Fortunately, there is no secret knowledge. Instead, they are simply practicing spiritual habits (or disciplines) that have for centuries given Christians "the peace of God which transcends all comprehension" (Philippians 4:7). Here are eight of the very best...
1. Surrender: People who have a close relationship with Jesus live by faith. They repeatedly surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus. Habit: Let's make a full, total, complete surrender of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus every morning.
2. Repentance: People who have a close relationship with Jesus have a lifestyle of repentance. They regularly apologize to the people they've wronged and ask forgiveness. And they regularly apologize to the Lord and ask His forgiveness. Habit: Let's maintain a lifestyle of repentance by quickly apologizing and asking forgiveness to both God and people.
3. Prayer: People who have a close relationship with Jesus talk to him a lot. Habit: Let's set aside a time for thoughtful prayer each day, and also shoot up prayers about everything throughout the day.
4. The Bible: People who have a close relationship with Jesus regularly allow him to speak to them through His Word. Recent research shows that people do best when they read the Bible at least four days a week. Habit: Let's read the Bible on a regular basis.
5. The Holy Spirit: People who have a close relationship with Jesus walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Habit: Let's continually invite the Holy Spirit to fill us with His "love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
6. Church: People who have a close relationship with Jesus are part of a church community. Habit: Let's actively participate in the life of a local church body.
7. Small Group: People who have a close relationship with Jesus are part of a community of people small enough that they really get to know each other. Habit: Let's each be part of a small group that is doing life together.
8. Personal Ministry. People who have a close relationship with Jesus are generous with their time and money to love, disciple, and serve others. Habit: Let's express our love for God and people by discipling them to disciple others, and by meeting their practical needs when it is within our power to act.
If you are not as close to Jesus as you want to be, which of these eight habits do you think would most draw you in? Because these are the main practices of those people who are really close to Jesus.
Until every church disciples every man...