2 steps to move you toward your life changing moment

 Tree

I have been thinking about certain before and after moments in my life. These are those moments where after them, “life will never be the same.” I didn’t always realize till afterwards how dramatic a change it would be after the event. The day that I got married was one of those moments. In the course of a 24 hour period my life would be changed forever. Other moments include the birth of our daughter, graduations, and job moves. In a moment things are changed in the story of my life for ever.

I have also had God moments that changed the direction of my life. They became like turning the page of a book and being in a whole new chapter. Some of them even felt like a whole new book was being written. One of my favorite sayings is that, “God can do in a moment what would take us a lifetime.” What if you could create more of those moments in your life? Here are two things you can do.

Keep going after God even when it was difficult.

I love the story of Zacchaeus. I was in a prayer service and someone pointed out how Jesus said that “today” salvation had come to his house. Zacchaeus had a before or after moment. The trajectory of his life and maybe his family was changed from that moment. But he had to push through some challenges to get to his experience with Jesus. We may have to push through our own reservations, cultural expectations or something else to get in the presence of Jesus for our life changing moment.

Work at the skills that you have right in front of you.

I am doing a study of the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. We all love the story of David and Goliath. But in David’s mind he was prepared for that life changing moment because he had become good with the sling while he was waiting for a moment like that. He knew he was anointed to be king, but became skilled with a sling while he was waiting. If you want to experience graduation from high school there will be a lot of moments of working on skills when you don’t feel like it. What part of your your relationship with God do you need to work on as you move toward your life changing moment?

If you press in to God even when it is difficult and work on the things right in front of you there are life changing moments in your future. Don’t give up at the bottom of the tree that Zacchaeus climbed to get to see Jesus. Don’t get an attitude about protecting the sheep in your care because you are someday going to be king. Your future self will thank you.

Sometimes we need to cut back on some spiritual habits

Kevin Senapatiratne 2015

This may be one of the strangest posts you read from “the prayer guy.” I wrote a book called Enjoying Prayer and one of the main points was to give people ideas so they could create habits in their prayer life. Well let me step back a step and say that maybe it is time to cut some of them out.

Before you move on and think I have lost my way, hear me out. Why do we have spiritual habits, or disciplines, to start with? What is the goal of our prayer, solitude, fasting etc?

Let me first remind you of what is not the goal. The goal is not to master the habits. To quote from one of the legends of today in teaching on this subject, Richard Foster, “We are not supposed to master something that is supposed to master us.” He also said, “We want excellence, but it is not like getting an ‘A’ in solitude. Excellence is in the pursuit.”

If mastery is not the goal then what is the goal of these activities and habits? The goal is as a way that God’s grace comes in our life to build our friendship with Jesus. Prayer is to build our conversation with God. Solitude slows us down enough to be aware of God and so on. These things are merely a method for us to encounter God’s grace, power and love.

I am warned by a story of the Israelites in the wilderness. God told them to build a snake that they could look at in order to experience God healing. Later in their history they needed to destroy this because they had begun worshiping it. The means and method to worship God had become the focus of their worship instead. (2 Kings 18:4)

That is why it is important from time to time to evaluate the specifics of our spiritual habits. To take from Mark Batterson our routines can become ruts that keep us from experiencing God. To paraphrase John Ortberg in his book Soul Keeping, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Is this practice still bringing grace into my life?”

An example from my life will help. In Enjoying Prayer, I share about my habit of writing down things that I am thankful for from God. The purpose was to remind my heart of all the good things that God has given to me. Now that habit has become more seasonal in my life. There are periods of time when God will take me back to the habit. I also now use an online tool on my phone instead of paper.

Let me encourage you to take a moment to evaluate your habits that you started with the purpose to know God and determine if now they are getting in the way of your journey closer to Jesus or maybe just need to be changed. Some you may even realize how much they are still helping you and you need to add more of it to your life. Let’s just make sure that our pursuit is Jesus.