As Christians, we never want to get into the legalistic practice of creating “to do lists” that we must follow in order to define ourselves as believers.
But at the same time, there certain things every Christian should do every day in order to stay in faith.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22 (ESV)
If we merely study the word of God, and don’t put it into practice, then faith is nothing more than an intellectual exercise.
It is what we do every day that defines and demonstrates our faith, and for that reason we need to be intentional about how to go about it.
There”s no 12-step plan when it comes to the Christian faith, but there are certain things every Christian should do every day, and here are some.
Our prayer time is our personal time with God. This is the time when we block out the distractions of the world, and concentrate our attention strictly on our Creator. By connecting with God in this way, every day, we put ourselves in a better frame of mind to deal with everything we will face in our day-to-day lives.
This is something we should look forward to as well. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who equips us and protects us to go out to the world and live our faith. If we miss this step too frequently, our faith can quickly become superficial.
2Read Your Bible
In order to consider ourselves to be “believers”, we have to be absolutely clear on what it is we actually believe in. We can do this through prayer, personal reflection, fellowship, attending church, participating in faith-based activities, and even through supplemental study. But the Bible is the very word of God ”“ the source for everything that we all believe in.
The only way to be clear what it is we should believe in, is to spend time studying the Bible. You should be purposeful about doing this each and every day.
As believers, we have to acknowledge that there are many doctrines and beliefs that exist throughout the faith. For that reason, we need to be certain as to what the Bible says ”“ and what it doesn’t. That”s the only way that we can know if a doctrine or belief truly comes from God.
It”s all too easy to sink into self-pity ”“ in fact, it”s practically the way of the world (just watch TV talk shows if you doubt that). There”s plenty happening in your life and in the world to regret or be bitter about. But it”s important that we understand that as Christians were called to come out and to be different. Rather than immersing ourselves in the negatives that are all around us, it”s far more important that we make it a practice to be thankful each and every day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. A thankful heart is a changed heart. If forces you to focus your attention on the good things that God has given you in your life (starting with eternal life), rather than on the missed opportunities and unfortunate circumstances that we”ve all been exposed to. A thankful heart also makes it easier to witness to others. The answer to mankind”s problems can be found by seeking out God, that point is best expressed by someone who knows why we should.
Being thankful to God is also a form of positive thinking. It forces you to think about all that”s good in your life, rather than spending time ruminating over your problems. We need to be people of hope, and the only way to do that is by being thankful. And that”s an attitude that is developed on a day by day basis.
One other point: Being thankful is a form of worship – the kind that comes from the heart.
In Matthew 6:14, Jesus tells us “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
If Jesus is truly our savior, than we must be absolutely serious on this practice. A forgiving heart is another of those qualities that doesn’t come to us naturally. It”s something that comes about through practice. And we can practice forgiving people each and every day. Once you get into the habit of doing so, it becomes second nature like any other good habit.
And it”s a habit that we need to develop. In our sinful hearts, we desperately want to see the flaws in others, while expecting complete forgiveness from others for our own shortcomings. But we cannot expect forgiveness from others, until we are ready to freely give it to them. God requires this of us!
5Reflect on Your Own Sinfulness
In order to worship a holy God, even to consider the whole concept, we first have to realize our own inherent sinfulness. That means we need to own up to what we”ve done wrong in the past, and what were doing right now. It”s only when we realize the true depth of our sinfulness that can we truly appreciate the need for a Savior.
When doing this, don’t merely concentrate on specific past sins. Rather, focus on the overall state of your heart. That includes your evil and selfish desires, which reveal the true state of your heart. God sees what”s in your heart, no matter how righteous you or others may think you to be.
Realizing our own sinful nature is probably the start of all forms of worship. It”s a form of coming to the end of yourself, and that sets the table for true worship. It also makes it considerably easier to forgive others, when you realize the depth of your own sin.
6Be Ready to Help Where There”s a Need
While we”re busy being wrapped up in our own lives and problems, there are people with needs all around us. While it is impractical to spend all day every day helping others with their problems, you can easily choose one or two people to help out each day.
Focus on the people around you, and try to be sensitive to any issues that they may be going through. A kind word or helpful gesture from you could be all it takes to get them moving forward. It will also help them to begin seeing you as a follower of Jesus Christ, and not just another insensitive face in the crowd. Opportunities for more direct witnessing can flow from these encounters.
7Be Mindful That Your Behavior Is Your Most Powerful Witness to Others
In all that you do, understand that your behavior is your most powerful witness to others. All of your best words and impressive pronouncements will become meaningless if your actions go in a different direction.
Whether we like it or not, the world will hold us to a higher standard because we are believers. They will be moved when we practice what we preach, but turned away when we do the opposite.
Each day, consider all of your behaviors, and how they might impact others for good or for evil. Put greater emphasis on your more positive behaviors, and eliminate or gradually reduce those that could be perceived as a negative witness.
Do you put any of these into practice on a regular basis? Are there other steps that you would suggest that we help us all to live our faith?