1. Abhor What is Evil
Living in the culture that we live in, it can be easy to grow a tolerance for sin. Like a bad smell that’s offensive to the nose, eventually we start to develop a tolerance. We become acclimated to sin and even start accepting it to the point where we let it entertain us. We will even categorize the okay sins from the bad sins – anger is okay but murder is not; a sensual look is okay but adultery is not; a white lie is okay but perjury is not. Jesus says otherwise (Mt. 5:21-37).
We must adjust our attitude toward sin. Ro. 12:9 says to “abhor evil,” not just avoid it. I must develop a hatred toward evil because it is a crime committed against the God of Heaven (Ps. 51:4). 1Thess. 5:22 says to “Abstain from every form of evil” (ESV, emp. added). Everything not associated with God falls under this category.
2. Read the Bible
Before you move on because you already do this, please understand that dedicating yourself to God’s Word is NOT simply fulfilling a Bible reading plan. It’s not simply a hobby nor is it something for the purpose of increasing knowledge. You can have all the biblical knowledge in the world and can “understand all mysteries and all knowledge” (1Cor. 13:2), but it profits you nothing if the motive is wrong.
Why do you read the Bible? It should be for the purpose of learning who God is and what He wants us to do. There really is no other reason to be reading the Bible. 1Cor. 2:8-13 tells us that it is the revealing of His mind. How do we know what God is thinking? Because He revealed Himself to us.
Read the book of Jonah and see that God’s amazing love isn’t reserved for Israel only. Read Hosea to see God’s broken and pained heart when His people are unfaithful. Read the book of Judges and you might get frustrated by obstinate Israel, but you will also be amazed by God’s indescribable patience. Read the Bible to find out what God is like. It will expose His heart to you.
3. Pray to God
This is perhaps another point that we feel we already do, but allow me to challenge you. Stop giving God scraps and take time to really talk to God. Stop the hurried prayers and go to an empty room or somewhere else where you will not be disturbed and dedicate yourself to God in prayer. Let me challenge you even further: the next time you pray, do NOT ask Him for anything. Can you just simply say a prayer of thanksgiving to God? Perhaps even sing a hymn to Him – just you with your heart and vocal chords.
Can you also stress that His will be done in your life? Don’t just use the formula of words but actually mean it and stress it to Him. But then can you also pray for other people? Make a list and mention people by name. Finally, when you pray for yourself, can you pray for things that would make you a better servant of His? Ask for wisdom and strength of faith to practice His religion (not yours) and equip you with what you need to be a better glorifier of Him.
4. Talk About Jesus
It’s been said that the things we talk about the most are the things that interest us the most. And the things we don’t like to talk about are the things that hold no significant value to us.
When is the last time you talked about Jesus to someone simply because He was on your mind? Many times we talk about wanting to be better and do better. I would suggest that thinking about Jesus more will make anyone better. The more you think about Him, the more you will exhibit Him to others.
Based on the conversations you have with people, what do you think they would say you care about the most? Challenge yourself to be that person who is always talking about Jesus.
5. Prioritize the Church
Aside from point #1, this is perhaps the least appreciated. Why? Perhaps it’s because we’ve humanized the church in its origin. Sometimes we feel it to be an aside from God; something that’s beneficial but not necessary. Maybe we feel we can even get by without the church. But when we read Eph. 3:9-11, we see that the church is God’s eternal purpose. Meditate on that. It means when we read “In the beginning…” (Gen. 1:1), God already had in His mind that He was going to establish His church.
The church isn’t this building. It’s the manifold wisdom of God. It’s the eternal purpose of God. It’s why God created everything. It’s what Christ came down from heaven for to build (Mt 16:18). It’s the reason why He shed His blood (Acts 20:28). It’s the one place where God is glorified throughout all ages (Eph. 3:20-21). It’s the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23) that claims the mind of Christ as its own. It’s the only people that will be saved on earth. Why wouldn’t anybody be interested in being a part of something so beautiful and so eternal?
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” – 2Peter 3:18