Welcome to our spring session of #theFives, Day One!
The beginning of a new session is always a little electric– a quiet morning fueled by expectation– it can be addicting! I can’t wait to put God first, even if the hour of day is a little difficult!
So why are we here, sacrificing time away from our cozy beds? Because we believe God is the secret to living our best life. How do we discover it? By listening to God about how to throw away what makes us tired, ashamed, and out of control– all that junk holds us back!
Our key verse for the next 25 days is Titus 2:11-14:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
God wants to teach you how to connect with Him, to take care of yourself and others, to do the hard thing, and have the self-discipline to choose what is best.
Week one is about connecting our heart to our head. Our relationship with God is not a checklist, but sometimes we need the checklist to get us going in the right direction. Just like learning any new skill, we start with the basics and grow into taking risks and improvising, making that skill our own.
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
– 1 Peter 1:7
One of my favorite things is a fire. In the fireplace or the fire pit in our backyard, the warm flames make any cool day better. I can sit and watch it all day! One of my kids’ favorite activities is throwing marshmallows in the fire to watch them grow into giant balloons that then disappear. (Honestly, it is fun for me, too!) The flames in our fire can consume something as small as a marshmallow, or something as large as a home, if we let the fire get out of control. But in a controlled environment, it will burn up only what you place in the fire.
God has a controlled environment– His love and correction– that He uses to burn up junk in our heart. Fear, resentment, control issues- they all hold us back from true relationship with God, and don’t reflect Jesus in our life. Being refined by God can feel scary, so we devise systems to keep God at arms length. We look to checklists or emotional highs and lows to tell us if we are doing “good” rather than letting God speak to us. These checklist methods may be okay in the beginning of our walk with God as we learn to follow Him, but maturity begs for real relationship.
1.) Start by praying for all the things on your heart right now, to give God some space to start speaking to you. He cares about what you care about. Don’t let anything distract you during the next hour!
2.) Are you a natural “feeler” or “thinker”? What typically drives your relationship with God– feelings, or facts? Take a moment to journal about either tendency.
3.) Repent if you have been keeping God at a distance or treating your relationship as a checklist or emotional high/low. Ask God to replace that practice with real, authentic relationship that cannot be manufactured.