Lesson One – It’s all about Relationship
As we start this study, it comes with a simple question. Do I chase after God? Am I a God chaser? Truth be told, people chase after many different things in this life. Some people chase their careers, power, celebrity, wealth, social status, etc. As I thought about this, I believe one of the best examples of what we chase/chased after is our spouse. Smitten with that person who put a twinkle in your eye, you looked forward to that next call and couldn’t wait to see them again. You enjoyed spending time with them, even when you didn’t do anything exciting or fun. You would talk every day, discover things about each other, and just enjoy being with each other. We were not concerned about what they could do for us; instead, we simply wanted a relationship with them.
So I ask myself, “do I truly chase after God?” Do I wake up in the morning with a longing to hear from Him today? When He reaches out His hand, do I take it without question, even though I may not know where He is taking me?
Staying with that same analogy, many times after we have been married for a long time, things begin to change. That yearning to spend time with our spouse becomes something that we don’t pursue any longer. When we spend time together, it is more about “what they can do for me.” Why is it when we date, we do what the other one wants, but once we are married, it evolves into what I want. Many women think the man they are going to marry loves going to the mall; in addition, many men think they are so lucky to have found someone who loves sports. But after the wedding, things change.
It’s great to get married, just don’t ever stop dating.
So now we must ask, has the same thing happened in our relationship with God? Early in, my prayers revolved around “what can I do to please you, Lord, to know you more?” But through the years, have we limited the time with Him, and when we do our “service,” is it with “what can you do for me?” Have our prayers become more self-centered, focusing on my needs and desires and asking Jesus to just “fix things?” Marriages often devolve into this type of relationship and when this happens, the relationship is in trouble. The same is true in our relationship with God.
Have our prayers become more self-centered, focusing on my needs and desires and asking Jesus to just “fix things?”
Ps 42:1–5; 11 NKJV
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and raise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 5:6 NKJV
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Points to Pause and Ponder
- As a Christian, how has your relationship with God changed over the years?
- Our personal relationships go through ebb and flow times. Is it the same with God? If so, what do you do to make sure the fire stays burning?
- During certain times in your life, you may have found yourself chasing after wrong things. How did you correct it?
- What was one thing that stood out as you read and meditated on this lesson? Why?
Doing something new
This week I encourage you to “pause and pray” at least four times each day. This exercise is based on two scriptures (Matthew 28:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) that deal with God’s promise that He is always with us, and we are to always pray. Draw a simple pause button on a few post-a-notes and place them in different areas. Maybe on your work computer, or by your phone, or in your car. The goal is to have a visual reminder to pause and pray. By doing this, you will take a moment to ask God to help you in your high-stress moments, to thank him for being present with you today. I call it “The Practice of the Presence of God.” When the boss is upset, He is there; when the kids will not stop fighting, He is there; when you will not make the deadline, He is there; when there is still more month but no money left, He is still there. Lord, teach me to hit the pause button on life and again realize you are there. This exercise should only take about 30 seconds but will produce huge rewards by lowering your stress level and allowing you to sense His presence.
How did this exercise work for you?_____________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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In Acts 11:26, a new word for the first time is used. It was a term that identified someone as a disciple of Christ. It was the phrase, Christian. The term was used to distinguish someone as a follower of Christ or someone who was Christ-like.
Christ will always take us, as unbelievers, right where we are, but He does not leave us there. He then starts us on a journey to become more like Him. Just as when a newborn child starts on life’s journey, once we are born again, we start on our spiritual journey. God’s desire for us is the same as a father’s desire for his child, that he or she would mature into a well-developed adult.
The purpose of this study is to examine how we can achieve the spiritual growth in our lives that would be pleasing to God. We will discuss the “nuts and bolts” of Christian living. There are many things (disciplines) that we, as believers, can do to promote spiritual growth/health. I like the term health better than growth because I never prayed that God would make my children six foot tall, but I did pray that they would be healthy. I knew that growth was a natural byproduct of health.
This study is divided into four sections each week throughout the six-week journey. Our desire throughout our journey should not be conquest, but contemplation. I have kept the entire process brief so that you can read the whole week in one sitting, with the hope that you will meditate upon what you have read throughout the week. Its design is to allow us to reflect on our walk—not to condemn us, but to stretch us, to encourage us to be who God has called us to be, who we could be, who we should be.
Lesson – Each week, we will look at different ways we can pursue God afresh and anew. We will examine where we are on our spiritual journey, along with ways we can chase after God again.
Related Readings – Here, we find scriptures related to the current lesson and the overall theme of this study. I encourage participants to read these verses daily during their quiet time prior to their time of meditation and reflection.
Points to Pause and Ponder – This section is the most critical part of the study. It is our time to reflect. Have I kept the main thing the main thing? If not, how can I change?
Doing Something New – The purpose of this section is to give you an opportunity to try new ways to chase after God. I encourage everyone to try these each week. I believe you may find some new ways to seek God.
Lessons in the Study
Lesson One – It’s All About Relationship
Lesson Two – Seek and You Will Find
Lesson Three – Where Is Your Passion
Lesson Four – Keeper of the Flame
Lesson Five – Lightening Your Load
Lesson Six – Just Don’t Stop