Thursday, March 19, 2020

Set Your Mind

We live in an information age.

The amount of information that is available at our finger tips through the internet is amazing. There is no library in the ancient world that can rival what is available online.

I am sure that our ancestors would be jealous of the tools and the information we have at our disposal. Many of them had access to only a few books, which they read dozens of times.

The problem we have with this constant access to information is that it can give us information overload. Much of the time it is hard to discern what information we should pay attention to and what information we should ignore.

Our constant online connection is like having a buffet available for every meal. Sure there is good stuff there, but it is easy to binge on that junk that seems tasty.

In other words, because of social media and entertainment outlets, our information consumption tends toward the junk food side of the buffet. The consequence is that the information that fuels our thoughts is just empty calories. It brings a little big of enjoyment, but it isn't going to change our lives.

Even though our ancestors had access to far less information, they were able to use what they had to develop a more robust way of thinking. They knew Latin, Greek, and could talk about different philosophers. They developed a philosophy of limited government and individual rights. They knew Scripture and applied its lessons to their lives. What they thought about not only changed their world, but continues to influence us today.

Always remember: Out thoughts determine the direction of our lives.

It is no wonder that the Bible has so much to say about our thoughts. For instance:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2; NLT) 
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5; NLT) 
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8; NLT)

To follow Jesus requires that we change our old ways of thinking. Transformation begins with changing the way we think.

Changing the way we think takes work. Our entire lives, you and I, have developed ways of thinking that have shaped the way we see the world. This means our thought patterns are second nature to us, we don't give them a second thought, but they are responsible for our moods and our outlook on the world around us.

We need to change the way we think! How do we do that?

Colossians 3:1-4 gives us a couple of insights into what we must do.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. (NLT)

In this passage there are two steps we must take in order to change the way we think.

First, Paul told us to "set our sights", or to focus on, what is real. The reality that Paul wanted us to focus on is that we have new life with Jesus. Through our faith, repentance, and baptism we have been raised to a brand new life with Jesus. He is our life, the way we are to live. He is our life, our hope of what is promised to us. Our focus is to be on him. To change our thinking requires us to shut out what is happening around us and focus on Jesus. This is why worship, prayer, and Bible reading are crucial to Christian spiritual formation. These disciplines help us to focus on Jesus.

Second, Paul told us to "think about the things of heaven." The "things of heaven" are not gold streets and eternal life. The "things of heaven" are the values, the rules, the standards, and the morality of heaven. In short, they are the qualities that make up God's character. We think about these things and how they apply to our lives. Instead of basing our standard of truth off what the world says is right, we hold fast to what God has revealed to us. We think about His promises, His word, and His truth and let these thing form our world view.

Taking responsibility for our thoughts allows us to develop new and healthy ways of thinking. It gives us a chance to create a world view that is more in line with God's truth, and it allows us to live with hope and faith.

Failing to take responsibility for our thoughts means we will continue to respond to the world through the old thought patterns we have adopted. These thought patterns often lead us to wrong conclusions and cause us to spend our lives in ways that are not beneficial.

We can change the way we think, but it takes the effort to set our minds on God, His purposes, and His ways. This is the starting point of our spiritual formation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Glory be to God Forever!

There seems to be more bad news in the world than good news.

Bad things happen to us or to people we care about, and we wonder where God is in all of it. Tragedy hits our nation and we wonder why God didn’t protect us.

To be honest, the evil in this world can overwhelm our thoughts and emotions. It is hard to remain positive when everything around us seems to be falling apart.

Though we wouldn't admit it out loud, we know that there are times in our lives when it is difficult for us to worship God.

I have experienced those moments of wanting to stay away from God.

For me, these are times when life did not turn out the way I had hoped that it would, and I decided God was the right person to blame for my disappointment. This attitude killed any desire I had to worship Him.

Have you been to a similar place?

It is okay to admit. You are not some horrible person for feeling like God has abandoned you. There are plenty of people in Scripture who felt that same feeling.

The book of Psalms contains over 60 psalms that fall into the category of lament. These psalms are raw and reveal the questions and disappointment people have with God.

Through the ups and downs of life it is normal to experience periods of time when worship is not something we want to do.

How do we overcome these feelings?

The best way that I know is to commit to worship.

To commit to worship requires that we schedule regular times of worship in our lives and we honor those times as scared. During these times we go through the motions of worship, because we know that worship is essential to life. In this way we declare that our feeling are not the final judge of our actions, rather it is our faith that determines what we do.

If we are going to worship God, we need to know why it is important to worship.

This is what the apostle Paul wrote:
May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.  Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.  All glory to God forever and ever! Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5; NLT)

Paul said that God deserves all our honor and praise forever.  Why does God deserve our praise?

God deserves our worship because He sent Jesus to rescue us from Satan, sin, and death.

This was God’s plan from the very beginning. Even before He created us, even before the first sin, God knew what it would cost Him to love us. God planned, from the beginning, to show us His love to us through the sacrifice of Jesus.

How much does God value you?

He values you enough to send Jesus to rescue you from death. He did this even though it cost him his life.

That is not the only reason.

Because of Jesus, not only can we be confident in God's love for us, but we can also experience new life.

Yes, it is true that our lives are still tied up in the drama of this world, but our hope has shifted. We now have new life that will out last the things of this world. Life is still painful, yet our focus is set on the moment when Jesus returns and makes everything right.

We worship God because we know that our present circumstances are not the final word about our lives.

If God never gave us another blessing He would still deserve our endless praise because of the gift of eternal life that we have in Jesus.

Glory be to God forever!

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Process of Spiritual Formation

It is essential that disciples of Jesus strive towards spiritual maturity.

Our faith cannot, and should not, remain static. Our faith, as well as our understanding of God's will, should continue to mature as we grow in our knowledge of God.

When we do not grow and we become content with our current experience means we will miss out on the life God created us to live.

The Apostle Peter was very aware of the importance of spiritual growth. In 2 Peter 3:17-18 writes:

You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. (NLT).
To neglect our spiritual formation makes us vulnerable to error. We cannot be content with what we already know, we need to be on our guard and hold tight to what we know. This provides the foundation that we need so we can strive towards maturity.

The writer of Hebrews shares a similar sentiment when he wrote:
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (Hebrews 6:1, NLT)
Growth is the expectation in our walk with God. We cannot remain the same and remain with Jesus. Either we are moving with him or we are being led astray.

If spiritual formation is essential to being a Christian, how do we make it a part of our lives?

It takes intentional effort. Consider the encouragement the apostle Paul offered to the Colossians:
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Colossians 2:6-10; NLT).

Paul taught that we need to be:

Consistent - Vs. 6
Faith in Jesus is not a one time decision. True faith is seen in our daily obedience to God's will. Our Christian spiritual formation begins the moment we trust Jesus. It continues as we consistently choose to trust him each and every day.

Concrete - Vs. 7
Being concrete is about holding on to truth. Jesus’ teachings are the firm foundation we need for life because they are truth.  We learn this truth through the study of Scripture, the relationships with other Christians, and the experience of living the Gospel. These things enable the roots of faith to be securely planted in our hearts and allow spiritual formation to take place.

Cautious - Vs. 8
This is about influence. We need to ask ourselves the question: Who is influencing me? When we lack discernment in our friends, reading material, and media consumption we put ourselves in danger of being led astray. A crucial part of our spiritual formation is being intentional about what feeds our minds and our hearts.

Spiritual formation is essential to our relationship with God. 

In fact, you could say that our spiritual formation is our relationship with God. As we mature spiritually our relationship with God is strengthened.

This is why we cannot leave our spiritual formation up to chance. We need to be disciplined in our spiritual formation so that we can become mature and experience the life God created us to live.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

How to Read the Bible: Literary Styles

The Bible is the foundation for our spiritual formation.

Yet, for many of us who follow Jesus, reading the Bible is difficult. We have good intentions for reading the Bible, but we often fail in those intentions.

One of the keys to understanding the Bible is to remember that it is written in different literary styles. What are those styles?

As we come to read the Bible it is crucial that we don't just come to gain new information. Rather, we want to approach the Bible asking the simple question, "How does this apply to me?"

There are certain literary types which make this easier to do than others.

Personally, this is why I prefer the New Testament over the Old. It is easy to skim through the laws found in Leviticus or the genealogies found in Genesis, or even the writings of the Prophetic books. The literary styles that make up the New Testament, especially the discourse nature of the Apostles' letters, make it easy for me to answer the question, "How does this apply to me?"

One of the best things we can do, as a general practice, is to see the Bible, not as a book to be conquered, but as writings to understand. To do this we need to approach the Bible prayerfully and humbly, asking God to speak to us from its pages.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rend Collective - Rescuer (Good News) [Official Music Video]

It is Thanksgiving here in the United States.

On this day that we remember the many blessings God has given to us, may we not forget the greatest blessing of all.

Thank you God for Jesus!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thankful for God's Love

We make the decision to love. While emotion might make the choice to love easier, we still decide whether or not we will love our pets, our neighbors, our friends, and our family.

The reason we have the capacity to love is because God first loved us. The reality is that our lives are products of God’s love.

If God did not love us, we would not exist. It is God’s love that is behind every gift and blessing that we enjoy.

Even before we became Christians, God’s love was freely given to us. The Bible teaches us that while we were God’s enemies He showed love to us through Jesus.

It is the gift of Jesus that made reconciliation with God possible.

God's amazing love is cause for thanksgiving!

Erwin McManus wrote
“It is gratitude that nurtures wholeness and expresses itself as generosity in the end. Gratitude is the pathway of love. It unleashes the healing power of love. It increases our capacity to experience love and give it.” (Uprising; p. 114)
Gratitude is an essential part of learning to be people of love. 

The thankfulness we experience because of God's love compels us to love those around us. While we know we should be grateful for God's love, the reality is that we don't always feel grateful.

The problem is that we haven't connected the blessings in our lives to God. We have grown so use to good health, a roof over our heads, and food in the refrigerator that we forget God's hand in this blessings.

Not only that, as time goes on, the feeling of gratitude that we had when we first became Christians begins to fade. The great gift of salvation looses its shine in our eyes.

Instead of thanking God for Jesus, we begin to act like it was no big deal. How do we show our gratitude for the love God has given us?

 I believe the first step in being grateful is to be humble. 

How do we become humble?

We take time to evaluate our lives.

The apostle Paul wrote,"As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you"(Romans 12:3; NLT).

This step reminds us of who we are the struggles we have without Jesus. It leads us to the place of humility. Without humility we believe that we deserve the gifts given to us. Only the humble see the blessings of God as the gifts they are and therefore respond in gratitude.

I believe the next step in showing gratitude is to be a steward. 

When we use the gifts, talents, and resources God has given to us, our eyes are opened to the work He is doing in and through us.

In 1 Peter we read, "God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you"(1 Peter 4:10; NLT).

By using our blessings we show our appreciation for what we have, and we allow ourselves to be a blessing to someone else.

 The third step in having a grateful life is to be a lover.

 Remember love is a choice. God's love for us opens up the possibility for us to be people of love. This is where our knowledge comes in above our feelings.

We may not always feel grateful, but because we know God has blessed us, we choose to love: to love Him and to love others.

Paul wrote:
"Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like a sweet perfume to him" (Ephesians 5:1-2; NLT). 

A life of love is a life lived in obedience to God’s will. A grateful persons seeks to please the One who has blessed him.

 God has given us the gift of love.

 Too often we treat that love as if it is something that we deserve, rather than an undeserved blessing given by a good God. In order to be grateful we need to be humble, we need to be stewards, and we need to be lovers.

This is how we express our thanksgiving to God for His gift of love.

Monday, November 18, 2019

How to Read the Bible: Biblical Story

The Bible is an important book.

 For Christians, we understand that the Bible provides us with the information that we need to guide our lives and move us along on the path of spiritual formation.

 Yet, the Bible is an ancient book, and it is not always easy to understand.

 While the Bible isn't easy to understand it does tell one unified story.

When we read the Bible, whether we are reading in the Old Testament or the New Testament, we need to pay attention to the choice that is being offered. Over and over again in Scripture we read about people who are offered a choice to either follow God's way or to do what they feel is right.

What the Bible teaches us is that when people choose to do what they think is right, the result is hurt, pain, distrust, division, and death. This is the explanation for why the world is in the shape that it is in.

The Bible does point to a person of hope. That person is Jesus. He is the one who always choose the way of God, and thus was able to bring restoration and renewal to the world. We are able to join with God in this renewal project as we follow Jesus.

Seeing this thread that runs through Scripture helps to know what we are to pay attention to as we read the Bible: How can we make the choice to follow God's will?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Live What You Believe

The direction of our lives reveal the condition of our hearts.

Our character is determined by the things that we do rather than the things that we say.

This is why I like what Henry and Richard Blackaby wrote in Hearing God's Voice:
“Whenever God speaks, what we do next exposes the condition of our hearts.”
Jesus taught about this very thing in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:15-20; NLT)
Here Jesus provided a test that helps us identify false teachers. The test is to observe their behavior. Do they practice what they preach?

False teachers may teach truth, but they do not live by the truth.

Truth is truth no matter what the source is. A person who does not live a life of faith still has the ability to speak truth. The problem is that the way they live often invalidates what they teach. Their lives will reveal whether or not they truly believe what they teach.

On the flip side, this teaching of Jesus should get us to examine our lives. We should ask ourselves the question: "Does my live align with what I believe?"

Our obedience to God's word reveals the love and trust we have in Him. It also shows those around us what it looks like to follow Jesus.

The more we love God and love our neighbor, the more we become the "light of the world."

This raises the question: "How can I consistently live what I believe?"

The problem many of us face isn't that we are unaware of the importance of  living authentic lives, it is that we find it difficult to do.

If we are going to live authentic lives we need to:
  1. Follow the guidance of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23 the apostle Paul wrote, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (NLT) Following the Holy Spirit will produce in our lives the type of fruit that is consistent with the life of Jesus.
  2. Be in community with other people. The author of Hebrews wrote, "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25; NLT). A Christian community offers the encouragement and opportunities we need to love others and live in obedience to God's will. We are stronger when we are in a community.
  3. Focus on doing good. The apostle Paul offered this encouragement; "So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith." (Galatians 6:9-10; NLT). We can be discouraged when doing good because it appears that it is making little difference. The reality is that we can't see all the things God is doing behind the scenes. It is an act of faith and hope to continue to seize the opportunities to do good, trusting that God will honor our efforts and bring transformation.
To live lives that honor Jesus and align with his teaching requires intentional action. It doesn't happen by accident.

It is crucial that we read and study the Bible. We need to know truth.

Knowing truth is not enough. We need to live the truth. When we live the truth we demonstrate that not only can we recite the truth, but we also believe the truth.

Know the Bible. Live the Bible.

Monday, November 11, 2019

How to Read the Bible: What is the Bible?

For us who follow Jesus the Bible is a very important book.

It provides the fundamental truth for us to believe. It forms our faith. It teaches us how to follow Jesus.

Since the Bible is such an important book for our spiritual formation, we should know what it is.


The Bible is a collection of books written over a 1,000 years and tell the story of God and how He relates to humanity. The prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament both believed that these writings contain the truth that God wants His people to know and understand.

Since God's voice can be heard through Scripture we need to prepare ourselves to hear it as we come to the Bible to read. Before we open the cover of our Bible (or open the Bible app on our phones), we should spend a few moments in prayer and ask God to give us ears to hear the truth He wants us to know. It is important for us to invite God to speak to us through these words that were written thousands of years ago.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Law is Incapable

"Law is always external. It is always imposed from outside. It can never make man good. It can only make him wish he had been good." ~ W. Carl Ketcherside; The Death of the Custodian

Law is incapable of changing people.

It would be great if it did. That would mean all we needed to do to rid the world of evil is to make new laws.

The reality that the law is incapable of changing us doesn't mean that law is useless. It does mean that we need to understand the limitations of law, so we don't put unrealistic expectation on it.

The law does have the ability to stop some people from doing certain behaviors. It  is capable of doing this because they are afraid of the punishment. In the back of their minds is that voice that is whispering, "What if I get caught?"

The restraint these people experience is not from the desire to do good, but the desire to avoid getting into trouble.  They wouldn't hesitant to do evil deeds if they could be assured there would be no consequences for their actions.

Their outward appearance appears to be good, but their hearts remain dark.

Consider these snippets from the Sermon on the Mount:

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, "'Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell" (Matthew 5:21-22; NLT). 
"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28; NLT). 
"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor and hate you enemy.' But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:43-44; NLT).

Jesus taught that what mattered more than our obedience to the law is the condition of our heart.

The law cannot fix a heart twisted by sin!

Our only hope for a true change of heart is Jesus. Our faith allows Jesus to heal our hearts and empower us to overcome the sin in our lives.

Obedience to the law is powerless to take away the consequences of sin in our lives. Law can inform us what is right and wrong, but once it has been broken, it remains broken.

What does that mean?

One thing it means is that law can't change us. The law can point us in the right direction, but it can't make us obedient. If we are interested in the transformation of lives, then we have to look at things outside of law. We need to use things like love, truth, faith, and sacrifice.

A second thing it means is that everyone is in the same boat. We have all disobeyed God and broken the law. We are powerless to make amends on our own. We need God's help to change.

Yes, the law is important, but it is incapable of making us good. Only God can do that.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Be a Praying Boyfriend

In our culture the way we find a marriage partner is through dating. This whole ritual of boyfriends
and girlfriends is littered with potential pitfalls, which means that very few people escape the process unscathed. Many of us carry the scars and broken hearts of dating relationships gone bad. Some of those wounds we received while dating will be with us the rest of our lives.

Because dating is so dangerous it is essential for Christian guys to approach dating with wisdom, guidance, and love. Guys, please remember that you are not out on a great hunt trying to find meat for supper, but you are in pursuit of a life partner who you can love, cherish, and lead. Dating, as exciting as it is, is also a huge responsibility.

As you date you need to keep in mind that the girlfriends that you have are, first and foremost, daughters of God. If you are a Christian, this means you have the responsibility to help her mature in faith, to encourage her to use her talents in ministry, and not to become an obstacle as she follows Jesus.

In other words you need to hold her life as a sacred trust for as long as she is a part of your life. Her life is not yours to use however you want or to destroy. You are responsible for protecting her as long as she is in your care.

As a Christian, your dating experiences cannot be all about fun, but they also need to be about mutual encouragement as both of you grow in faith. I believe that it is the man who is to lead the relationship in this aspect. If you are not leading your girlfriend spiritually it is your responsibility to stop dating until you are spiritually mature enough to lead.

How do you go about leading your girlfriend spiritually? You begin to lead your girlfriend though prayer. I don’t mean some wimpy little prayer that many people like to pray: “God, I would just like to ask that You will just be with my girlfriend and just grow her spiritually…”

I am afraid that such a prayer isn’t going to do too much. You see prayer doesn’t start with the words you say during prayer, but it starts with your motivation for praying. For your prayers to be effective you have to believe that God hears your prayers, and that He has your best interests at heart. Prayer also has to become important enough to you that you set aside time to pray each and every day. If you are just praying to mark “prayer” off our religious to do list, well then your prayers aren’t going to accomplish much.

When it comes to praying for your girlfriends you have to answer the question: “Do I want my girlfriend to grow in her relationship with God?”

Don’t be so quick to answer that question. The quick Sunday School answer is, “Yes, I do!”

I think you need to stop and consider some of the potential consequences of your girlfriend maturing in her faith.
  • What if God shows her that the next step in her journey of faith is to break up with you? Would you be okay with that?
  • What if God uses her to bring up issues in your life that you would rather remain hidden? Would you be okay with that?
Your prayers will be more effective when you can honestly say, “God whatever Your will is I surrender my life to it.” Remember your will is not always the same as God’s will, that is why one of the purposes of prayer is to help people align their wills with God’s will.

When it comes to praying for your girlfriend, I think it is important to remember that you need to pray for them with them. You need to pray for her during your quiet time of prayer, but you also need to hold her hand and ask God to bless and guide her. She needs to hear this because she needs to know that you want God’s will for her no matter what happens in your relationship. Make sure you set aside time on your dates to pray with her and for her.

I want to offer a word of caution. Do not do this in the early stages of your relationship. It could freak her out because she might think you rushing things. It could also create a false sense of intimacy that your relationship has not yet reached. Wait for the right time to start praying together, just as you would with holding hands and kissing.

With that being said I want to give you a few practical prayers that you need to pray for your girlfriend if you are going to help her grow spiritually.
  1. Pray that God will keep both of you on the same page. This has proved essential to me in the last three relationships that I had before getting married. In the two cases where the relationship ended, God revealed that truth to both of us. While there was sadness that accompanied the end of the relationship, we both knew that God wanted us to go our separate ways, and we were able to part on good terms. There is no way to avoid the pain of a break up, but with God’s wisdom and guidance we can make it sting a little less.
  2. Pray for the knowledge of God’s will. The apostle Paul at the beginning of his letter to the Colossians reveals his prayer for them; And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10; ESV). Ask God to fill your girlfriend with a knowledge of His will that comes through spiritual wisdom and understanding. Remember the important thing in her life isn’t that she will become your wife, but that she will live a life that is worthy of Christ Jesus. This is such an important prayer for you to pray, not only for your girlfriend, but for everyone you pray for, because everyone is in need of God’s wisdom.
  3. Ask for her to be clothed in the Armor of God. The Armor of God is found in Ephesians 6:13-17. The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that we are in a battle, a spiritual battle, and that means your girlfriend is out in the middle of battle field. Daily you need to ask God to put His armor on her. To do this you need to take time to walk through this passage and mention each specific piece of armor. The reason you need to pray this prayer is to help her to have the ability to stand firm in the face of the enemy’s attacks. This is also a prayer that I use for myself each day, I need to be clothed in God armor otherwise I will fall.
  4. Ask for God’s Kingdom to come into her life. This comes from the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:10). The way I use this prayer is to focus on God’s Kingdom and ask that she will be a part of it, and for His will to be done for her as it is in heaven. The best life that you can live is lived in accordance to God’s will, and so you want your girlfriend to know God’s will, and receive the strength and courage she needs in living out His will for her life.
  5. Thank God for the opportunity. Each relationship is a gift from God. This is especially true with romantic relationships. Thank God for bringing such a beautiful woman into your life. Because you are thankful, ask God to give you the wisdom and guidance you need to be an encouragement to her. A relationship with a beautiful Christian woman is a great blessing, so you need to thank God for that wonderful blessing. Like all blessings there is also responsibility, and that responsibility is to lead and encourage her in her walk with Jesus. In order to do that effectively you need God’s wisdom, and as James wrote (James 1:5) if you lack wisdom you need to ask God for the wisdom you need to spiritually lead the woman you call your girlfriend.
Dating is dangerous and it leads to a lot of wounds. That is why the wise Christian man will take the time to pray and invite God into the dating relationship that he is in. As single Christian man, you want to make the dating relationship a positive and encouraging experience that will help both of you to grow in your relationships with God. So if you are really serious about being a Christian boyfriend, you will be a boyfriend who prays.

Philippians: The Advance of the Gospel

STOP — Philippians 1:12-20 Summarize Paul transitioned to updating the Philippians about his life. The main point that he wanted them to kn...