You can grow up in a Christian home and understand very little about Christianity. I know, because I was that girl. I attended church, had godly parents and was even homeschooled in a Christian home. But somehow I didn’t understand how the Christian life worked on a personal level between me and Christ. I knew I should read my Bible, pray and be a “good person.” But I tried to do all these things on my own power and was often frustrated when I wasn’t “good enough.”
It took many years and into my 20s for me to understand some fundamental truths about the Christian walk. I’m hoping I can save you some time, so here are 11 things I’d tell my younger self about walking with God.
- You won’t always FEEL like drawing near to Him. You won’t always feel like reading the Bible or worshipping God—but do it anyway. Emotions are not our guidelines into holiness. And the amazing thing? As you draw near to God even when you don’t feel like it, your heart catches up. “Pray until you feel like praying.”
- You aren’t the only one who shows up to your quiet time. Did you know God shows up to your time with Him? Simple, but true! God is not leaving you to seek Him all on your own. If you look at your quiet time as a meeting with Him—a meeting He isn’t going to miss—it’s much easier to make it a priority.
- God is just—but He is not an unloving judge. I struggled with seeing God as a judge. I was afraid of Him, and even resented Him at times. I’ve learned by studying His Word (how God reveals Himself to us) that God is JUST because He is HOLY. But He is not an unloving judge. His love and righteousness go hand in hand.
- The Christian life is a continual journey. We never “arrive” in the Christian walk. Each day we must choose to submit to Jesus and let Him work in us, but this is a daily journey.
- You can’t MAKE yourself a “good Christian.” This is something you must understand. No matter how much you read your Bible, pray, go to church or “do good things,” you can’t make yourself worthy. Only Jesus, working in you through the Holy Spirit, can transform your character and make your work last eternally. That’s why the New Testament talks about the “fruit of the Spirit” and “walking by the Spirit.” You’re required to stay in tune to God’s voice throughout each day and let Him lead your actions. When you do, you will BECOME a strong believer simply by walking in step with Him!
- The Holy Spirit is a real person who helps us become like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not some vague person responsible for your Aunt Stacy speaking in tongues. The Spirit gives true gifts to help us follow God and minister to others, and He is also responsible for empowering us to the Christian life. You can’t live this life without Him.
- The enemy will do anything to separate us from God. Your spiritual enemy—Satan and his angels—is working overtime to use guilt, anxiety, anger and besetting sin to keep you from running to Jesus. KNOW how he works and stand guard.
- It is not presumptuous to repent of sin immediately after you commit it. When you sin against God, the enemy swoops in with shame, telling you “How dare you go to God after you’ve rejected Him? He won’t accept you!” These are lies! In Jesus, you can repent of your sin and be forgiven IMMEDIATELY. And the only way to be at peace with God and growing once again is to repent and turn as soon as you sense that conviction.
- Reading the Bible is not a duty—it’s a privilege! So many young women think they should be reading their Bible. But it’s not about what you SHOULD be doing; it’s about what you GET to do! The Bible is God’s revealed character to us. It’s how we know Him on this earth. Reading the Bible teaches us who He is, and it’s a privilege to do so!
- The Christian faith is communal. The Christian faith is not meant to be lived alone. Throughout history, faith in the one true God has affected whole communities. Our sin affects whole communities, and our obedience does, too. That’s why church is not optional, because if you follow Jesus, you ARE the church—and He loves His church!
- God is kind. It’s simple, but so important to know and embrace: At the end of the day, God is always kind. He is always good. This is our foundation for everything we know about Him, from beginning to end. He is an amazing, almighty, awesome God—and He is love.
There is no better Person to follow than Him.