I’ve been listening to a podcast, Intentional Living with Dr. Randy Carlson, at work a lot lately. Randy talks about the power of One Thing – which is to “figure out what will please Christ, and then do it” (Ephesians 5:10, MSG) – one thing in an area of life (faith, relationships, health, finances, and work) at a time. He also mentions that it takes about 30 days to establish a habit, and he challenges us to do or quit doing one thing for 30 days (i.e. the 30-Day Challenge).
I’ve been inspired to participate in this challenge. My one thing is to have a closer relationship with the Lord. Though I’ve grown some in the past couple of years after several years of unintentional living, I want to experience Him again. I want a reformation and revival in my heart, to rededicate it to Him. We used to be so close, and I miss that.
Here’s my initial plan for a closer relationship with God:
1. Daily Scripture Reading and Prayer
Any healthy relationship requires communication, and a relationship with the God of the universe Who created relationships is no different.
One way we communicate with the Lord is through prayer. On average, I only pray about a few days a week, before work. When I do pray, I use the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as a basis, but I usually hurry through it. My goal is to take my time and pray every morning with all the key components to a solid prayer – adoration, confession of sins, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Another way to communicate with God is through His Word, the primary way of how He communicates with us. On average, I only read the Bible about four days a week. I currently use Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which is a book of devotions for every day of the year. There’s a devotion about enjoying peace in His presence with scriptures to research. My goal is to read the Bible every morning.
In order to accomplish these goals, I need to wake up earlier every morning, especially during the work week. My alarm is set for 2:50 AM (Monday-Thursday). This would be an adequate amount of time, but I’ve been snoozing the alarm once, sometimes twice, for the past several months. My goal is to get up the first time the alarm sounds so that I’m no longer sacrificing quality time with my Lord.
2. Regular, engrossed church attendance
Fellowship with other believers is another key component to a closer relationship with God. It’s important to surround yourself with other Christians who know and love the Lord. People have an influence on you, whether you want to admit it or not. They say you’re an average of the five people you’re around the most (whether intentionally or unintentionally), and I want to intentionally surround myself with God’s people who will have a positive impact on my life and lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus.
I am very inconsistent and rarely attend church. (Hey, at least I always take notes on the sermon when I do go, right?) When I do happen to attend, I fellowship at minimum. For example, when it’s time to “meet and greet” at the beginning of service, I usually stay seated, because I don’t know anyone and I’m shy around new people. Of course, when someone does greet me, I greet back with a smile on my face. But, I am not intentional about mingling.
My goal is regular, engrossed church attendance – to start going to and participating in church service every Sunday, and continuing to take notes on the sermon to learn more about God.
Even before the first 30 days of consistently pursuing these goals, I hope to be able to start enjoying growth as a Christian and honor God with my whole heart. I also have a couple more ideas of how to have an even closer relationship with Him: (1) purging worldly influences and replacing them with Godly influences, and (2) practicing thankfulness and contentment. One thing at a time, though, so I don’t get overwhelmed and ruin my progress.