Do you want to jumpstart your relationship with Jesus but you don’t know where to start? If you worry because you haven’t spent time reading your Bible, praying and going to church lately, don’t worry, I’m not about guilt! I’m about getting us ready to go on a seven-day journey to jumpstart our relationship with Jesus.
I’m glad you’ve made the decision to take this journey with me to jumpstart your relationship with Jesus. Whether you’re doing this for the first time or you’re starting again for the twenty-first time, Jesus is waiting for you.
We all fall off track sometimes. We lose our passion and our excitement. We forget what having a relationship with Jesus is all about. And sometimes, we’re on track but we lose our passion or we get stuck and don’t know how to move forward.
I’m glad you’ve made the decision to take this journey with me to jumpstart your relationship with Jesus. Whether you’re doing this for the first time or you’re starting again for the twenty-first time, Jesus is waiting for you!
Day 1: Make Space
Lately, I’ve been feeling the same — busy, but not fulfilled. My life is cluttered with stuff – work, meetings, church obligations, family get togethers and things like that. However, when I look over my life and take a deep look at all of the stuff, I’m realising, I’m not focused on things that have meaning.
I’m not spending quality time with God, maintaining important friendships with family and friends and pursuing my dreams. My life is cluttered, but not fulfilled.
You might identify with me. Your life might also be cluttered but not full – not full of the things that really bring you meaning.
Day 2: Spend Time With Jesus
I can see it now. You’re all set and ready to go. You’ve found a space in your day — 10 minutes on the train as you head into work. It’s the perfect space to spend some time with Jesus. Now what?!
It can be hard to find conversation when you catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. The first couple of minutes can be awkward as you think, where do we start? Sometimes, I find myself turning the pages of the Bible in sheer confusion when I stop to spend time with Jesus. Here are a few easy tips to give you some direction as you work to find that rhythm in your relationship with Jesus.
First, focus on relationship building. Just whisper a prayer to Jesus and let Him know that you’d like to connect with Him.
Invest in a really interesting audio Bible. I really like the Bible Experience; it brings the Bible to life for me.
Choose a plan for your Bible reading. I recommend you start with the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Get to the heart of the matter and read about Jesus – it all begins and ends with Him.
As you read, follow along in a Bible you feel comfortable writing in. Write your notes and questions. Underline when you’re really feeling with the author’s saying. Jot notes in the margins when you have a question. Get involved in the story. Later, when you come back to the passage, you’ll see your footsteps, marking where you’ve travelled in your Bible.
During this time, be present, be engaged and be expectant.
Day 3: Do Something for Jesus
I can’t quite see you as you read this, but I can imagine you. If I were next to you, I’d ask if you play any contact sports…basketball, football, rugby, soccer. You know, the kind of sports where you can expect to get a little bit dirty and make physical contact with the other players on the field.
This is Christianity. Christianity is all about contact. It’s about getting dirty, rubbing up against humanity – interacting, talking, telling, sharing, caring, loving. That’s at the heart of Christianity because it’s Jesus’ heart. If you really want to jumpstart your relationship with God, try doing something for Him. This isn’t about doing good things to earn favor with Him; this is about learning to see people the way God sees people.
As you continue to read the Gospels, you’ll begin to see that Jesus viewed people much differently than we view people. He had love and compassion for them. And on top of that, He tells us in Matthew 25:40, “I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these…you did for me.”
If you think about any relationship you may have had before, you’ll notice, something happens when we stop doing special things for one another. In the beginning, we may cook our boyfriend’s favorite meal, but after things are no longer new, we grab takeout, without a worry about what he’s going to eat. We often become disinterested in the relationship when we stop making an effort to make it special for one another.
Doing something special for God means doing something special for people. Having a relationship with God impacts how we treat people.
Day 4: Remember You Are What You Eat
Today we’ll circle back to what we talked about on Day 1, but with a bit of a twist.
Have you ever eaten an apple-flavored piece of candy, followed by a real apple? The apple usually tastes bland and a bit tart, when compared with the rich, sugary goodness of the candy. Even though the candy might taste sweeter, it’s an imitation of the real thing.
How do you spend your time? What music do you listen to? What TV shows do you watch? What books are you reading? You may not think it impacts you, but your brain’s taking it all in. Our brains become numb to the violence; they wink an eye at the cheating and gloss over the rude way the characters speak to each other and stab one another in the back (literally and figuratively).
As you aim to jumpstart your relationship with Jesus, think about what you’re consuming. Sometimes, spending time with God doesn’t seem so sweet, when we compare it to everything else we could be doing. For the rest of this week, see if what you watch, listen to and read is helping you in your quest to jumpstart your relationship with God.
Day 5: Climb Spiritual Brick Walls
Lately, I’ve noticed people are swapping traditional sporting events, like marathon running, triathalons and bicycle races, for more challenging, non-traditional events, like Tough Mudda, where they battle obstacle courses, mud and climbing walls. There’s something about an imposing climbing wall in the middle of an endurance race.
Maybe it’s the sheer size and the way it blocks your view that makes it the perfect draw for adrenaline junkies.
In my life, I’ve come to realize there are spiritual brick walls we all must climb. It could be you find out a person who’s a leader and is very spiritual finds himself in a very compromising position. Or, you learn something unbelieveable about a Christian friend – that’s a spiritual brick wall. You may find that people in church don’t do what they say, or you find yourself bored in your relationship with Jesus. These are walls we must climb over (with God’s help). Previously, when I hit spiritual brick walls, I would walk away from my relationship with Jesus, because I didn’t know how to deal with them. Instead of running into brick walls and walking away, we should fight our way over them. This is part of the growth process. It’s the same concept you face when working out. You will eventually plateau, and at this point you must adjust your workout plan in order to keep growing. You must change the exercise, increase the weight or increase the reps.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. We can’t stay in the same spiritual spot all of our lives. Ask God to take you to the next level in your relationship with Him.
Day 6: Learn to Follow God
Having recently moved to Australia, I’ve had to learn a thing or two about rugby (but not too much). When compared to American football, it’s clear the two games are related, however, it seems that rugby is like American football on speed. Because there are fewer breaks, the game keeps moving. However, I often find myself becoming very frustrated while watching rugby because it seems the ball takes so long to get down the field. My American mind silently shouts at the players to just throw the ball down the field, which would be an illegal move since the game only allows backward and lateral throws.
Do you ever feel like that in your relationship with God — a bit frustrated as you try to follow His plan for your life? Sometimes it seems like it’s going too slowly or it’s not going at all. I find that learning to follow God’s will is a bit like a football game. At the beginning of the game you don’t know you will win. You go in with a strategy, coaches, and players, but you don’t know when you will execute the plays, because you haven’t played this particular game against this particular opponent before. However, just because you don’t know doesn’t mean you quit the game halfway through. If the game’s not going right, listen to the coach, revise the strategy and go back out to play.
Your spiritual life is the same. Don’t throw in the towel at halftime. Keep playing; keep seeking God’s will. Take it play-by-play until you make it down the field.
Day 7: Rest in God
At the beginning of this book, I told you my life feels quite cluttered but sometimes very unfulfilled. As you can imagine, with a cluttered life, I’m quite busy. The days are long and sometimes the evenings feel even longer. On top of that, I have a personality that seems to always need to be busy – planning, prepping, strategizing, doing. My mind is hardly ever still. So it seems so counter intuitive to me that God wants us to rest. However, things are upside down in God’s kingdom. He says it over and over and over in the Bible.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“Come to me all who are weary and troubled and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath…in it you shall not do any work.” Mark 2:27 & Exodus 20:10
God wants us to take a physical rest, as well as a spiritual one. As you look to jumpstart your relationship with God, isn’t it comforting that the most important part of that relationship is resting in God and His gift to us of eternal life with Him?
In your busy world, how can you make room to rest in God?
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