How to Expand Your Life with God
- Monday, July 23, 2007
Let God’s love flow through you to others. Don’t just take God’s love for yourself and let it end there. Share that love with other people by reaching out to them as God leads you to do so. Draw a diagram that represents your sphere of community, listing the names of people you’re closest to in the smallest circle and moving outward. Then, outside the largest circle, write the names of people you consider enemies or don’t feel able to love for whatever reason. Pray about how your circles can expand to encompass all the names you wrote as people with whom you share God’s love. Recognize that God intends for you to be roped together with others in community. Don’t practice your faith alone; build meaningful relationships with other believers and actively participate in church. Rejoice with others when they have something to celebrate; weep with others when they’re suffering. To the extent that it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Slow down the pace of your life and make time to be with people face to face often. When you spend time with friends and family, enjoy their company instead of just trying to accomplish a set agenda during your time together. Don’t use love as a tool to try to manipulate others for your purposes. Ask God to help you love others as He loves them – unconditionally.
Make space for grace. Thank God that His grace gives you the space to grow as you’re becoming more like the person He intends for you to become. Let your gratitude motivate you to extend grace to other people. For example, let your husband enjoy eating goat cheese or sauerkraut, even if it grosses you out, and give your son or daughter permission to join a garage band, even if that means loud practice sessions at your house. Go easy on others when they make mistakes for which they’re repentant. Just as you don’t have to earn God’s love, don’t make other people earn your love. Don’t parcel love out sparingly to others. Ask God to help you love people lavishly, whether or not you think they deserve it. Ask God to give you the humility you need to overcome pride, self-righteousness, and self-sufficiency. Remember that you – just like everyone else around you – are a sinner, yet God still loves you and Christ still died for you. Be willing to help other people without expecting anything in return. Decide to love even in ugly situations. Believe the best about others and wish the best for them, encouraging them and supporting them as they pursue God’s dreams for their lives. Every day, be proactive about doing small things with great love, such as forgiving an obvious slight, offering someone a ride, preparing a meal for someone in a crisis, or complimenting a colleague. Constantly ask yourself: “How have I seen God’s grace extended by others toward me?” and “How have I been the space of grace for someone this week?”
Forgive. Know that, just as God has forgiven you for all your sins, He expects you to be willing to forgive others who hurt you. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving; you likely never will. Instead, make the choice to forgive, and rely on the help God will give you to do so. Work toward reconciliation with those who are willing. Realize that by forgiving, you create a new beginning out of past pain. Understand that forgiveness opens up the space you need for healing in your relationships.
Sacrifice. Ask God to help you place your life at His disposal with gladness and eagerness to see how He will use you to accomplish good purposes. Let your love for God and gratitude for all He has done for you motivate you to give freely of your time, energy, money, and other resources to God’s work on Earth. Don’t just give what’s left over after you take care of yourself; give the best of what you have. Be willing to make sacrifices for others as God leads you, even when your efforts aren’t rewarded or even acknowledged. Remember that, though you main gain nothing from other people, God will give you joy as you serve Him. Be welcoming toward others, taking a genuine interest in their lives and making time to build meaningful relationships with them. Let go of your own agenda for your relationships and invite God to use them however He chooses to help you and others grow. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to be humble and kind as you go about each day, willing to give yourself away one commitment at a time.
Recently on Spiritual Life
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content