There was nothing funnier in youth ministry than when I would hear a teenager say, “I am not influenced by my friends,” or “My music doesn’t affect the way I act.” Lies I tell you! Teenagers are very influenced by their relationships and their media.
And so are adults.
Unfortunately, adults quote the same lie in their heads as teenagers: “I am not influenced by work, social media, tv, talk radio, my friends, money, myself.” Let’s face the facts. We are very influenced.
Jesus said that the wise builder made the house on the rock – and the rock is the teaching of Christ (Matt 7). Do you know the teachings of Christ? I mean – do you really know the teachings of Christ – better than your favorite movie, or a status update, or what is happening at work, or the lyrics of your favorite song? Jesus wants us to know Him personally – and it starts with knowing His truth and teaching, so that we can learn to hear His voice.
Another reality check: listening to a 30 minute sermon (ok, more like 45 minute!) once a week is not the same as personally reading God’s Word, applying it to your life, and talking it through with Jesus. Being around other great Christians or serving in ministry, as great as those are, is not a substitute for actually walking with our Savior.
“Believing” in Jesus isn’t the same as really knowing Him. You can ask “What Would Jesus Do?” all day long, but unless you know Jesus – and what He actually did and taught – you won’t really be able to answer WWJD? Instead, you will be following what YOU feel or think is right, moral, and good – which has been shaped more by the influences in your life than the Bible. That’s not the same thing as following Jesus. Because here’s the thing – spending time in God’s Word will actually change your thinking. You will learn how God has spoken in the past, and get to know His character – and then you learn how to hear His voice in your own life.
You have find a way to get God’s Word into your life. Ideally this would be every day. This could be a chapter at a time, or a few verses. This could be reading and re-reading a chapter every day for a week, so that you really soak it up. It could be reading or a Bible app or audio. A good place to start is with Jesus (imagine that!). Check out the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), or the parables, or read and re-read one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) until you are quoting Jesus in your speech and thinking about the life of Jesus during your day. You may even start having a few Bible dreams!
Know Him. Follow Him. Start with His Word. And obey.
This is a simple formula – that involves a cost. You have to let go of other things and give time to what matters most.
And your life will truly be changed. Because there is nothing like the love of Christ, and knowing Him personally.
How will you get God’s Word into your life every day?
If you already do, how is the God inviting you to know Him even deeper?