How to Expand Your Life with God
- Monday, July 23, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Joni Grace Powers & Robert A. Pyne's new book, LifeSpace: The Practice of Life with God, (Regal Books, 2007).
Life’s demands can suffocate you if you settle for less than the abundant life God offers. So take a breath of fresh air and expand your life with God beyond the limits what you can imagine and into an experience of unbounded adventure.
Here’s how you can expand your life with God:
Seek worth beyond measure. Instead of trying to prove your worth to yourself and other people, remember that God’s glory shines through you because He has made you in His image. Be confident in the fact that you are valuable simply because you are God’s child.
Pursue identity beyond circumstance. Understand that your circumstances don’t define who you are. Know that your circumstances are simply tools for God to use to shape you into the person He wants you to become. Realize that God is able to redeem even the worst circumstances in your life to accomplish good purposes.
Seek love beyond performance. Rather than or trying to earn God’s favor, accept the fact that God already loves you deeply and unconditionally. Rest assured that your relationship with God through Christ is sealed for eternity.
Embrace the messiness of being human. Understand that you can grow not by trying to transcend your human frailties, but by being honest about them and coming to God just as you are so He can use your weaknesses to make you strong. Don’t focus on trying to project an image of perfection. Instead, admit your flaws and let them reveal how much you need God. Be authentic in your relationships with other people and seek to learn from the messy interactions you sometimes have with them. Realize that being human isn’t a problem to be solved; it’s a calling to grow more like the God who chose to take on human form to save the world. Know that God loves real human beings like you because He chose to be incarnated as one.
Live fully in the present. Instead of wishing the present away and longing for your future in heaven, pay attention to where you are right now in life. Rather than trying to escape your life, start looking for ways that God is at work around you. Ask God to help you bloom where you’re planted.
Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you. Remember that everything – even your next breath – is a gracious gift from God. Thank Him regularly for giving you life through His Spirit, and welcome the Holy Spirit to fill your soul and transform you. Ask the Spirit to enlarge your view of reality so you can envision more than just what you can see and embrace the full potential of your life.
Aim your love in the right direction. Ask yourself the key question: “What do I love?” Honestly consider what you might currently desire in place of God, such as comfort, stability, affection, opportunity, piety, or success. Make sure that nothing knocks God out of His rightful place as your absolute top priority. Plan how you spend your resources (time, energy, money, etc.) around the fact that your relationship with God is most important. Choose to love for who He is instead of just what He can do for you. Expect that the more you get to know God, the more you’ll fall in love with Him. Know that loving God for His own sake will bring you true joy.
Discover joy. Be alert to specific ways God is at work around you, and make time to reflect on the beauty of that work (such as something you appreciate in nature, or a quality you find charming in a person you know). Notice when and how God answers your prayers, and make time to thank Him for His generosity and creativity. Read, meditate on, and study the Bible to learn more about God, and delight in what you discover about Him through His Word. Be open to the mysteries of faith and avoid futile attempts to fit God’s work into a box you can fully understand or control. Look for God’s reflection in human creative expression, such as through art, music, literature, and dance. Make a frequent practice of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, such as traveling to a foreign country or learning an extreme sport. Celebrate fresh joy whenever you encounter it.
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