The last several weeks we've talked about the practice of spending time with God; reading devotions, reading the Bible, praying, etc. Those things that [keep the fire burning] within us. Our faith can so easily grow cold. We can drift or go for days without reading the Bible. We think of ourselves first. We hunger for God's word, but don't read it because we don't feel like it. We crave that mountaintop experience, but we don't want to go through the valleys to get there.
Psalm 139:7-10 assures us that God is with us on the mountaintops and in the valleys, but we won't get anywhere in our faith if we act on short-lived emotion, turning around halfway up the mountain because we aren't feeling it.
Faith and feeling are not the same. We can keep the fire burning only through discipline, sacrifice, and perseverance. It will smolder if we try to ignite it with sugar-rush feelings. The following practices can strengthen your faith and serve as fuel for your spiritual fire:
- Prayer, reading scripture and worship - A relationship with God requires communication. To deepen our relationship with God, we need to pray, to read the Bible and to worship. When we pray, we are tapping into the power of God.
- Serving others - When we are on fire for Christ and serve the Lord with our whole lives, we make God real to a world that does not yet know the Lord.
- Talking about Jesus - Conversations about the Bible nourish our faith and let us know we are not alone in our walk.
- Learning - To stay engaged in our faith, we need to admit we don't know everything about God, the Bible or Christianity - and keep exploring.
Ask your teen...
Which of the above practices is most difficult for you?
- Who are the people in your life who have helped to light the spark of faith in you?
- What things are truly important in your life and faith? Pay attention to things that have the power to change lives - including yours.
- Many things threaten to drench the fire of faith. Who or what helps you to fan the flame?
- Make an effort to communicate with God, to serve others, to talk about Jesus or to keep learning - and watch your faith grow!
Challenge your teen...
- Take the risk... when you have people whose words or actions have made an impact on your life - tell them! Perhaps people you know are wondering if they are inspiring others in their walk with Christ. Encourage them and let them know that what they're doing is making a difference. I Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build each other us, just as in fact you are doing."
Father, ignite in me a spiritual fire and a desire to keep that fire burning bright for you! I pray that the joy of the Lord will continue to be my strength. Amen.