Following Jesus can be difficult. You may really want to know him more. You may go to church each week. You may pray. But somehow it seems hard to integrate ‘the spiritual’ into our everyday life.
I know this feeling well. My best intentions don’t seem to make much difference. Instead it feels like there is an invisible barrier which stops me from following Jesus every day. Here’s 3 ways to help you follow Jesus every day I’ve found essential in overcoming this.
1. Have a Jesus Centred Life.
I believe this step is one of the hardest things for people do. Whether it’s work, finances, parenting, etc., the pressures of life burden us down. It is so easy to become bogged down by these and get stuck always looking at ourselves.
We are so trapped by the idea of self-reliance and self-dependence that we often don’t even think of others. Such self-centredness is a killer for living a Jesus centred life. In these moments it is virtually impossible to move ourselves. So how can we become more Jesus centred? I believe we need to develop a rhythm of inviting Jesus into our situations.
It starts with prayer, worship, reading the Bible in ways that urge us to remain in conversation with God throughout the day. It asks how Jesus would act in situations and seeks to serves others. I think you are on the way when you’ve run over the neighbour’s dog or, your kids are running around the house hitting and screaming, and you ask how Jesus can be seen.
2. Learn to Listen.
Listening is something most people aren’t really good at. Sure, we hear lots of stuff, but we don’t really listen.
A couple of weeks ago my wife asked me to jump on the recycling bin so we could fit more in. Her tone was irritated and I naturally took offence at it. She responded that she had been asking all week and even though I said yes I hadn’t done it. I was hearing but not listening.
There’s different views about what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of believers but I think there’s a couple that everyone can agree on. First, God is always present with his followers through the Holy Spirit. And second, the Holy Spirit leads and guides Christians in Jesus’ ways.
This leading is something we need to learn how to listen to. Our lives are so full of noise that unless we are intentionally listening to the Holy Spirit, we tend to miss it.
The Holy Spirit is present in our lives and speaking. We hear him but unless we are listening it just becomes another part of the background noise.
3. Know who you Are.
Following Jesus every day is a privilege. Listening to the Holy Spirit is liberating. But if you really want to join Jesus’ story then you need to know who you are. You are a child of God. You are part of his family. It doesn’t mean you are perfect. You’ll still be full of inadequacies, but trumping this is the fact that you are loved by God. We need to hear this.
When Jesus was baptised God said he was pleased. When Peter denied he knew Jesus, God sought to restore him. When Thomas doubted, Jesus let him feel his scarred hands. I think God smiles at times like this. I think it makes him happy when we understand ourselves as his children in the midst of our lives.
I understand this. My life is full of self-doubt and self-loathing but knowing I am God’s child helps. Even more, he is happy with me.
My daughter drew a picture of me where I was telling people about Jesus on the cross and rising again. Just to the side she drew God smiling at what I was doing. I don’t need to be really good at something to serve God, I just need to know that as I follow him every day he smiles.
These are just some things that have helped me to follow God in everyday life. I don’t think this list is exhaustive. Leave a comment about what has helped you.