I’m writing this simple note to check in on you. I know I never ask you directly, and, most likely, no one else does either, but, how is your spiritual life? How is your relationship with the Lord? Now, there is no reason to get up in arms about this question. I mean it sincerely, and I am asking as a friend.
You know, so many Christians have given up in doing good, lost their first love, have watched their faith grow cold. This ought not be so. The New Testament gives one encouragement after another to continue to stoke the fire of our own faith and good deeds (Matt 6:33; Gal 6:9; 1 Cor 15:58; Heb 10:35-39).
Do you remember when you first became a Christian? I’m sure you felt so comforted and free! The Gospel releases us from guilt, the power of sin, anxiousness about the future, and it brings us into a right relationship with God. Sometimes, though, when we neglect our spiritual lives, we end up neglecting the Lord and moving farther and farther away from Him. You know how exhausting that is, how guilty you feel, how miserable your mind becomes. Yet, it is difficult to figure out how to get out of that rut once you are in it!
We have to prepare and pace ourselves for a long Christian life, and we have to get out of ruts quickly once we are in them. I want to offer you, my friend, a few practical helps for getting excited about the Gospel again, for renewing a healthy relationship with the Lord. The first two are traditional, obvious, and simple, but they are also tried and true: (1) Read the Scriptures every day and (2) spend time in prayer multiple times a day. There are so many different ways to read the Bible now. You can use your physical copy with just the Scriptures or open up a study Bible with helpful notes. You can also look up a Bible website or download an app. If using a study Bible, I highly recommend that you read an entire passage first, ponder it for a few minutes, and then read the study notes later. When starting back to Bible reading, I recommend you read the Gospels for a while so that you can see and experience Jesus up-close and personal again. When thinking of prayer, I’d suggest a couple focused times during the day, when you can spend at least 5-10 minutes in prayer. Confess your sins and give thanks to the Lord. Praise Him for His mercy!
After those two timeless and powerful spiritual disciplines, I would also encourage you to (3) spend time with Christian friends, but not just any—really think of some positive Christians to hang out with. There’s so much negativity in our world, and even in the church, to the point that we are all left drained. Find 2-3 people who you enjoy spending time with and who help to refuel you (without even knowing it!). There are so many practical suggestions I could make, but I’ll only share one more in this brief letter. (4) Spend a lot less time with electronics and a lot more time outside. There is something draining about being in front of a TV or phone. There’s lots of evil, honestly, that we are spiritually ingesting through these various platforms, whether it is the things we watch, or articles we read, or interactions on social media. There’s something draining about it, but there is something energizing—physically, emotionally, spiritually—about being outside in the sunshine. I grew up in the foothills of NC, right at the base of the mountains, and to this day I still enjoy being in the hill country and visiting the mountains. I love seeing those sights. The same is true of the beach, and rivers, or just traveling down some winding, country roads. Getting some fresh air and sunshine are good in so many different ways, and those times are also good opportunities for prayer and reflection.
Of course, the one practical, spiritual discipline that often goes without being said is being thoroughly involved in the local church. If you want to renew your spiritual life, if you want to care for your soul, if you want to come close to the Lord again, if you want to get excited about the Gospel once more, then come to church! Praise the Lord with us, learn more about Him, ask lots of questions, pray with us, eat with us, share in life with us! My friend, you have so many helps and encouragements for your Christian walk, don’t waste your life in a rut! See you soon!