Starting with the basics

It’s been a couple of months, but brand new fresh devotional posts are back! And to kick off we are having a quick look at the foundational things you need to get in place if you are serious about growing in your relationship with God.
When building a house, builders put in the foundations first so that then as they build the house is supported and won’t collapse. It is the same with the Christian faith. We need to get the foundations in place so that our faith will stand firm no matter what life throws at us.
So these are what I consider the foundational basics of having a relationship with the living God.
First and foremost we need to build on Christ the solid Rock, for all other ground is sinking sand. Jesus needs to be central to our thoughts all day every day. We need to be rooted in Him. We need to remain standing firm on Christ as our foundation, not just looking to Him once a week, but all the time.To have a relationship with God means getting to know Him. Which means dedicating time each day to talk with Him. Not just to Him but with Him. Paul tells us we should pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). While establishing a close connection like that to God doesn’t happen overnight, it won’t happen by chance. It will gradually develop as we daily commit to spending time in prayer, seeking God’s face, asking His guidance, looking for His will and bringing our burdens to Him, for Jesus offers to take them from us. We also need to make sure we are listening to hear God speak to us, and often we fill our life with so much clutter that when He does we drown it out with TV shows and radio noise and Facebook alerts and texting. Turn off the distractions while you pray and really focus only on God.
The next important basic to get in place is time spent reading the Word. There is the old slogan “a chapter a day keeps the devil at bay”. While that isn’t true, regularly reading God’s Word will help equip you to fight the temptations the devil sends at us. The Bible is not just some rule book or instruction manual. It is our Father’s love letter to us. It contains promises from Him to protect us, to sustain us, to help us through trials. It contains advice on how God wants us to live so that we can have the best possible life, the one He has planned out for us. It is full of verses to encourage us during times of sorrow, and verses to speak to us during times of doubt. Get in the word, and get the word in you. Don’t just read a chapter a day out of obligation. Find a reading plan (E100 is a good starting point) and before you read pray that the Holy Spirit would inspire your reading, that He would help you understand what God has to say to you through the passage. Think about what you are reading. Ask questions: why was this passage written? What is it saying? What is God saying to me through this passage? How can I apply what I have gotten out of this passage?
Don’t just read and forget it. Make notes. Highlight. Underline. Wrote verses out on cards and carry them around with you or post them around your room. Fill your mind with God’s word and let it be your daily bread.
The next important basic is worship. Praise is all about giving glory to God and being reminded about how awesome He is and how amazing it is that Jesus died on a cross for us. Outside of Sunday church services it may seem hard to do much in the way of praise, but with youtube, spotify, iTunes, Pandora and amazon it has never been easier to get a hold of great praise music, both live and studio recorded that you can sing along with in the comfort of your own bedroom. But praise is just a part of worship. Worship is the act of glorifying God, and is what our whole life should be about. God is glorified when with sincere hearts we praise Him, but God also tells us the worship he really desires is that we love others the way He loved us, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, defending the oppressed (Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:8).
As we strive to grow closer to God those are the key things to get in place. If you are really serious about going for this it is going to require commitment. It is going to require effort. It is going to necessitate sacrifices – be it giving up a TV show or getting up slightly earlier. Don’t focus on what you can’t do – focus on what you can do. Start by looking for small ways in which you can make small changes that result in you involving God more in your day to day life to build solid foundations that will last – change your alarm to a worship song so that that is the first thing you hear. Pray for each other while brushing your teeth. Listen to christian radio in the car. Get a bible verse on your phone wallpaper so you see that every time you go to text someone. So now I’m passing it over to you – what small changes will you commit to making this week?

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