Let Go and Let God

shutterstock_250812124 for websiteLately I have been struggling with giving complete control over to the Lord. Mainly this issue has been coming up because I am having trouble trusting Him wholeheartedly. I still try to control things that should be held in His hands. I feel like we all wrestle with the issue of relinquishing control. America has always told us that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Eleanor Roosevelt). And while that is an admirable sentiment and it does ring with some truth, we need to remember that as Christians, our job on earth is to tell others about Christ and to be lights to the world. Our goal is not our self-glorification. We are only visitors here and our true home is in heaven. The Bible describes our time on earth as a “like a breath; [our] days are like a fleeting shadow” (Psalm 144:4). So how do we live our lives to honor and glorify God? How do we keep perspective when the world is pulling us in a different direction?

Go All In

This is a scary thing to do. My generation is especially terrified of commitment. We never want to label anything. Half the time we date we don’t even know whether we’re “official” because we don’t want to put labels on anything. We take pride in the fact that we don’t fit into stereotypes and we can’t generalize ourselves with a single word. But in the Christian walk, we need to commit 100%. 1 John 1:6-7 says,

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.”

We have to go all in.

We can’t live our lives going to church on Sundays but living in debauchery Thursday night- Saturday night. The Christian walk is about having a love affair with the creator of the Universe. It’s an “all consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). He must pervade every aspect of our lives. You shouldn’t live your life with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God. You have to go all in.

What does going all in mean?

Going all in spiritually means making God your priority. It means waking up earlier than you normally would to pray, read your Bible, and center your heart around God. It means changing your habits so that they honor God. Philippians 4:8 says,

“Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I’ve had to change many habits because of that verse. It means seeing ways that you can serve others around you to show them the love of Christ. You can serve others through your church, school, or another avenue. Throughout my sophomore year of college I tutored a little girl named Chloe every Wednesday and saw firsthand how Christ used my influence to help her realize her worth in Him.

 You are not alone

Jumping head first into your walk with God does not mean you are alone. It may seem like you are alone when you are trying to walk a different direction than all your friends. But God is with you. In fact, God gives you the strength to walk with Him. Furthermore, without His help, we would not be capable. John 15:4 says,

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

You must lean into God as you walk. You have to rely on Him to get anything done as a Christian. God promises to give you strength as you realize that in your weakness, His strength is perfected (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It is ok to be weak.

It is ok to be vulnerable.

That is how God wants us. He wants us to realize how much we need Him and how apart from Him we can do nothing. John Piper explains, “Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that he will provide the help we need.” We need to pray. We need to cry out to God. Having Christ in our heart means that we can approach God with boldness and confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Having Christ dwell in our hearts has instilled a power and strength within us that only comes from the Lord.

I encourage you to jump headfirst into your walk with the Lord. Relinquish control and power. Give it to the Lord. Allow Him to shape and mold your life into His perfect plan. See what He uses to create beauty and further His kingdom. Lean into His word and approach His throne with confidence through prayer and petition. Find ways to serve those around you and minister to them. Allow His spirit to shine through you and your interactions with those around you. We have been set free as daughters of the King and it’s time we started living like that.

Radically,
Rachel

Making Time for God

shutterstock_208020445 copyLately I have been ridiculously busy. So busy that I have been subsisting primarily off caffeine and protein bars. I’ve been running from commitment to commitment trying to fulfill all my responsibilities. Sometimes it’s difficult to find time to spend alone with the Lord. In a world where your attention is being pulled ten different directions, you may find yourself asking the question: why read the Bible? Why spend time reading a 2,000 year old book? Here are three reasons why reading the Bible is essential for the growing Christian.

Why Read the Bible?

1. Its Powerful

Spending time in God’s word is essential for a Christian to grow in her walk. Hebrews 4:12 explains, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
God’s word has to capacity to break down even the hardest heart. God can penetrate even the most rebellious spirit with His powerful word.

2. It makes you more Christ-like

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Studying God’s word guides us as Christians. It is the roadmap that God has given us. Glean wisdom from the word of God and use it to examine your heart and your life. Use it to see how your life and your love for the Lord matches up.

3. God commands us to

As if the top two reasons are not enough to convince you to read the Bible, God tells us to read His word. Matthew 4:4 says, “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” The scripture is our spiritual food. We need it as Christians to survive. It’s necessary for our growth to treat God’s word as sustenance and to partake it in daily. Psalm 1:1-2 states, “Blessed is the one […] whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” As Christians, we need to study God’s word daily in order to grow.
Making time for the Lord can be difficult. Here are some tips that I’ve found useful with my crazy schedule and centering my life around the Lord. Sometimes we need to find time, even when it feels like we have no time to spare.

Find Time for God

The adage stands true: you make time for what you care about. If your boyfriend texted you, you would probably answer relatively fast because you care about him. You would make time to answer that text. The same goes for God. Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would. Make coffee, sit at your dinner table, and take the time to center your heart around the Lord. Spend time in prayer, reading your devotional, and reading directly out of the Bible. I’ve been having my quiet time during my break at work. I bring my prayer journal, Bible, and book I’m reading (currently it’s The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler) and spend that hour with God. Plus it’s a great witnessing tool to read your Bible in public. I work on South Congress in Austin, so a girl reading her bible actually really stands out. I’ve gotten to share my faith with several people as a result. It is essential to make time for God.Your crazy busy schedule is not going to slow down, you just have to prioritize that God is #1.

Protect Your Time

I find myself surrounded with so many distractions. I have this compulsive need to check my phone every few minutes and right as I’m writing this my dog is barking at me wanting attention. I encourage you to protect your time with the Lord. Whenever I have my quiet time, I turn my phone on silent and flip it over so I can’t see it. I lock my door so no one can interrupt my time with the Lord. And I give Gizmo a treat so he will pipe down. It’s ok to be selfish with your time with God. It actually is essential to protect it. Don’t feel bad about not answering a text for 30 minutes because you were praying. It’s alright.

As Christians, we must have Christ as our priority. He needs to be number one in everything we do. That means that everything else: social commitments, sports, work, even school, falls beneath Him. He needs to rule in your heart as Lord. That means putting aside time to grow closer to Him and to allow Him to reveal more of Himself to you. Spending more time with The Lord is an investment worth making.

Radically,

Rachel

10 Qualities of a Godly Friend

shutterstock_229205491 copy                                                                                                                           Friendships are one of the many beautiful gifts God has given us. Friends can bring us closer to God and have the capacity to change us, positively or negatively. Sometimes it is difficult to find good friends who will stay by your side. Personally, I have experienced friendship on the widest spectrum. I have had friends who have loved me unconditionally like Christ and I have had friends who have thrown away our friendship. Difficulties in friendships can be heartbreaking. I encourage you to be the kind of friend you would want to have. It is important as Christians to honor God through these relationships. Here are ten points to consider in your friendships. I encourage you to examine these points in your life to ensure that you are being a godly friend and that your friends have these essential qualities.

A good friend…

1.Is Encouraging

1 Thessalonians 5:11 commands, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” That is the kind of friend Christ calls you to be! You should rejoice when your friend receives an award or recognition. You should encourage her to grow in her relationship with Christ. Being encouraging does not mean sugar coating everything, but remaining positive, even when the situation may seem bleak.

2. Is a Truth Speaker

A godly friend speaks truth into your life, even when it is difficult to hear. A true friend loves you and genuinely wants the best for you. They will tell you both the good and the bad. She will tell you when she feels that you are walking away from the Lord or if she feels that you have been walking closer with God. She will speak God’s Truth into your life daily.

3. Says Things in Love

This one goes hand-in-hand with the point above. If you feel that God is calling you to speak a tough truth into a friend’s life, you must say it in love. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and should be exercised throughout a Christian’s life. Speaking a hard truth in gentleness and kindness can strengthen a friendship rather than hurt it.

4. Prays for You

A true and godly friend prays with you and for you. We all go through difficult phases in life and a true friend recognizes the need for a prayerful community and asks how she can pray on your behalf. My close friends and I meet once a week to share our walk with the Lord and even share how we have struggled in our spiritual walk. Having that kind of support and accountability is essential. Sharing your prayers and struggles with your friends is liberating.

5. Is Thoughtful

A good friend thinks of others before herself (Philippians 2:3). She thinks about how she can serve others and encourage others in their walk with the Lord. She remembers birthdays and special days in her friends lives. She is intentional with her friendships and know their purpose is to honor God.

6. Is Secure in Her Identity

A good friend recognizes her immeasurable worth in Christ. She is secure in her identity as a daughter of the Most High. She also knows that is your identity as well. That’s why she doesn’t get jealous when you succeed, instead she is the one in the crowd cheering the loudest for you.

7. Is Loyal

A godly friend sticks by your side even when times are tough. She stands up for you when she needs to and always speaks positively of you. She knows that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45) and she only uses her words to build you and others up.

8. Forgives

We have all fallen short of God’s grace and are going to make mistakes. It is crucial to be able to forgive a friend when she has wronged you. Colossians 3:13 commands, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I am so thankful to have had godly friends who have forgiven me when I have wronged them. God calls us to forgive. Don’t confuse this with justifying an abusive friendship. Although you must forgive them, you do not have to remain in a harmful relationship.

9. Is a Peacemaker

A good friend cultivates peace in her relationships. She doesn’t revel in drama or discord. She seeks peace and harmony. Matthew 5:9 states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” She doesn’t look to create unnecessary drama and is happiest when people feel included and loved.

10. Brings Out Your Best

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Friendships are supposed to strengthen your walk with the Lord. A good friend helps you be the best version of yourself. It is also your responsibility as a godly friend to come along side your friends and encourage them.

Being a good friend can be difficult. The secret of being a good friend is to abide in Christ. Remember the purpose of friendship: to honor God. Be the kind of friend God wants you to be. Seek God with all your heart and He will give you the power to be a good friend. Love others the way that Christ loves you and you will become the best friend a girl could ask for.

Radically,

Rachel