There are three necessary things that enhance a believer’s life and are imperative for Christian living: Bible study, prayer, and church. Let me explain:
Bible Study: A believer needs to be in the Word every day; no excuse. I knew a woman (now in Glory with her blessed Savior Jesus) who’s life was wrought with pain and I’m almost 100% sure she never missed a day in the Word. She always had her Bible open. She even got these glasses she could wear that would make it so she didn’t have to bend her neck to read. There was no excuses with her, though she would have been more than justified by the world’s standards for skipping days here and there. But she knew what was most important and that was knowing God. Her reward in heaven is greater far than the pain she endured in this life, because of her faithfulness.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”John 17:3, Jesus
- First, “For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) It speaks to every circumstance known to man and gives counsel concerning it all.
- Second, knowing the Word is knowing God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
- Third, knowing the Word helps the believer discern truth from lie, outwardly and inwardly. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) The Word can serve as a checks and balances system for a believer’s life: whether something is from God or self or other, whether the advice given is pure or motivated by another source than God, and even whether what they are learning in church is of the Lord or something else.
Prayer: In addition to Bible study, prayer is a powerful tool. Prayer opens the heart to God, is a conversation with Him, and is a discipline every believer should practice. How amazing the God in Christ gives us access to Him. Many religions practice prayer, and some do it very well (consistently and religiously), but I have yet to learn of a religion where it’s god (little “g”) converses with them and enters into personal relationship with them. Through Christ, we have an all-access pass to God, which should not be taken lightly or brushed aside.
- First, prayer teaches us to humble ourselves: “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes, and I prayed unto the Lord and made my confession…” (Daniel 9:3-4a) Prayer reminds us who God is and who we are, and especially where we stand with Him (the Word reveals this as well).
- Second, prayer is a way to hear from God. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3). What God says to us in prayer will commonly be His Word revealed to us, but whatever is said will always be in line with His Word. The Bible is a checks and balances for our prayer life as well. These two should work in conjunction.
- Third, prayer is a way to align ourselves with His will. We praise in prayer, thank God for who He is and what He’s done for us, we pray for healing, pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, pray for our church (please make it a priority to pray for your church.), our family and friends, and His will to be done in our lives. Prayer is a way for the Spirit to work in and through us “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Soirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
Church: Church is not just a building. It is a body of believers coming together to worship God, pray, and learn His Word. It is also a spiritual covering, so be careful how quickly you leave it. “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
- First, your church should be directed (pastored, shepherded) by a man of God who’s life is following after God and reflects the person of Christ (never perfectly mind you – give grace!! – but always striving for His image). For more information on what your pastor should look like (character-wise), read the pastoral books: the Timothy’s and Titus. If your pastor does not live up to these standards, PRAY for him or if the Spirit (truly the Holy Spirit) leads, leave. This is where Bible Study and prayer (humble and obedient) come into play. If he IS living up to this standard, PRAY anyway. Pastors take a lot of hits, have a double judgement, and are your covering. Pray for their protection and their continued obedience to the Lord’s leading. If you’re unsure what to pray, customize this prayer for your pastor from 1 Timothy 3:1-7: God, please bless my pastor with wisdom and and help him to stay above reproach. Bless his marriage with his wife. Teach him to be temperate, self-controlled, respectable, and hospitable. Help him continue to be an able teacher. Make him strong against temptation of all kinds. Help him to manage his household well and keep his children in control. Keep him humble and deliver him from all evil. Protect him from the devil and his workers. Give him favor among men and help him have a good rapport with everyone. Bless him with all your blessings, revelation, and health in Jesus’s name, Amen.
- Second, church should be a place where you learn and grow in your relationship with Christ. That means not always hearing feel-good things but being convicted of your sin and repenting of it. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) Be careful who you confess to though. If you’re studying your Bible and are in prayer, you should know who you can trust – they will have fruit comparable to Christ.
- Third, church should be a place of fellowship, encouragement, and love. Love one another, pray for each other, lift each other up. Iron sharpens iron, the wounds of a friend are better than kisses of the enemy, and if bad company corrupts good morals then you know good company enhances them. Pray a customized prayer from Ephesians for your fellow believers: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give the body the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: that the eyes of our understanding in the congregation would be enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance are in us, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,” and that He would “grant to us, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with all might by His Spirit in us, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts together by faith; that we being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend together what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, and that we might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Each of these 3 gifts of God: Bible study, prayer, and church, should be an integral part of the Chrisrian walk. If these aren’t yet a part of your life, make it a priority to add them quickly. Pray that God gives you wisdom in each, and allows you to grow closer to Him as you are obedient to His Word in each area.
May God bless you and continue to do exceedingly abundantly all that you ask or think.