Keys to Relationship with God to begin the New Year
How is your relationship with God right now? Do you want to know God better? Just like any relationship, time, attention, communication and appreciation are key. Here are some “disciplines for discipleship” to consider in the new year, keys to making God first in your life that will strengthen your faith and relationship with God:
Read the Bible
Set aside time every day to read the Bible. Stop to reflect, listen, and ask what God might be saying to you.
What does the passage say about God, about people, about the relationship between God and people? Join or form a small group reading and discussing together, sharing insights. If you have never read the Bible or have a hard time reading, ask for help. Your pastor or friend can help you find a Bible, suggest ways to get started and other resources. God loves to speak and to be known through God’s word.
God loves to be worshipped! Worship reminds us who God is and what God is like. Christian music is a great way to worship. There are styles of Christian music in every genre. Praise and thanksgiving is also a wonderful way to worship. God loves it when we give Him praise and thanksgiving. It is how we recognize and name God’s blessings in our lives, even the small things. Think of things to be thankful for every day. Worship is giving God the first of our hearts and appreciation. It is recognizing who God is and what God is doing. O Come Let us Adore Him!
Take time every day to pray. Prayer is essential to our relationship with our living God. It is a conversation, where we talk with God about what is on our hearts AND take time to ask and listen for what God wants us to know and do. Keeping a prayer journal helps us to listen to God and is a way of laying down whatever is on your heart and mind. (Andrew Murray’s The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer is a great resource for learning more about prayer.)
Sabbath is a gift from God that reminds us to worship God only. There are many other demands on our time, attention, and energy. Sabbath is a way of “climbing up in the balcony” and focusing God, the only One who is all-knowing, all- loving, all-powerful. God is the only one who can really save us and give us fullness of life. Sabbath helps us to remember that we are not slaves to all the other demands on our time and energy. We are not God and neither are our jobs, families, hobbies, health, finances. When we give the first fruits of our time to God in Sabbath, God makes the rest of our time productive, often by giving us wisdom and guidance, and sometimes providing in ways we could not have imagined.
Tithing, like Sabbath, is a gift from God. God has provided all the resources of heaven and earth and given us responsibility for stewarding or managing those resources well, as representatives for God. Everything we have comes from and belongs to God, and is given as a blessing that we might be a blessing to God and others. God is a God of ABUNDANCE! We tithe because, like Sabbath and worship, it helps us to remember that God is the source of all things and to honor and worship God. When giving God our first fruits tithes a priority, all of our other finances and priorities begin to come into order. And we are set free from slavery to things that can never give us life.
The tithe means literally 1/10th and represents the “King’s portion” – historically and biblically. This is the amount that represents loyalty and faithfulness to the King who is providing and caring for everything. If you are not yet striving to tithe, there’s no better time to start than now. Don’t expect to be perfect, just start trying to make it priority, and you will begin to see the blessings.
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. “ (Micah 3:10)