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Pointers along the way #73

How shall it go better with me?
- Jacob Ninan

One question that troubles Christians is about what we need to do in order to make it go better with us, both concerning our spiritual progress and our life on earth. Some of the aspects that we address in this connection are:

1. Love for God. We are to love God with all our heart, and more than we love people or things (Mt.22:37;Lk.14:26). Otherwise, we really don't love Him the way He deserves.

2. Fear of God. A reverence and respect for God, knowing who He is in relation to us, will give us a proper perspective in dealing with Him and His commandments (Pr.2:3-5;9:10).

3. Faith. We must trust in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us, He is always for us, He will keep His promises, He will never leave us, etc. Even when fears and doubts trouble us, we must settle down quickly to this faith.

4. Repentance. A sense of repentance must be constantly in us that acknowledges every sin we become aware of, and which moves us to confess and set it right.

5. Humility. A recognition of who we are in relation to God, accompanied by love and gratitude towards God, will help us to keep away from high thoughts about ourselves and going beyond the boundaries God has set for us.

6. Honesty. This is more than being honest in our transations with the others and in our speech. It is an openness towards God, without hiding or pretending.

7. Fellowship. Fellowship with other members of God's family encourages, challenges, corrects, guides and protects us, and helps us to grow.

8. Bible study. Just reading the Bible is not enough. When we study it personally or in groups it helps us to understand God's ways and to change our lives into His image.

9. Prayer. This is our link with God. It is not telling Him what all we want, but to 'talk' things over with Him, telling Him about ourselves and listening to Him.

10. Self denial. The more we get to know Him, the more we find we have to deny ourselves what our flesh would like us to do. We choose this way because this is the one that will lead us closer to Him (Lk.9:23).

One common mistake we make is to think that any one of the above (or something else) is the secret of an abundant life, and neglecting the others. We do that when we become aware of some particular lack in our life, or when some preacher or writer presents his message forcefully. But our life is a whole, and it must be wholly directed towards God if we are to draw closer to Him.