4/24/2012 by Lance Lee
The “Fab Five” things you must do regularly to stay spiritually strong
by Lance Lee
Why are so many of us who name the name of Christ struggling to overcome temptation, stuck in some form of a spiritual “rut,” or just basically “weak” in our personal walk with the Lord? While unconfessed sin, disobedience in obeying a personal directive from the Lord, or drifting into erroneous teaching and practices are some of a number of important factors that will cripple a person’s spiritual walk, there are five key areas that if neglected or not practiced on a consistent, daily basis, will contribute to spiritual weakness in a believer. I would go so far as to say that over 90% of our moral failures can be attributed to neglect in some aspect of at least one of these five spiritual disciplines.
Before listing them, it must be noted that each one of these five practices are actually inconvenient. They will inconvenience a person by limiting the amount of time a person may watch TV, surf the web, talk on the phone, engage in recreational activities, or pursue whatever hobby or relaxing pleasantry we happen to personally enjoy. While none of the aforementioned things are evil of themselves (they can certainly be used to promote or experience all manner of evils), they have become “front-and-center” in the war to capture our time, energy, and focus. We must each make a choice as what is most important to us, our growth and obedience in following Christ, or the pursuit of our personal amusement. It is a choice every person makes and will determine just how strong or obedient we will each be in the Lord. At the root of this choice will be a decision on whether the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment are more important to us than our growth in the Lord. If you choose to make ALL the following five activities personal daily priorities, you will see yourself experience great growth and strength.
1. Read your bible daily until you have truly “read” your bible. Simply giving 4- 6 minutes to read “a chapter a day” will not be sufficient. This is not about trying to meet an obligation, or maintain a daily checklist, but about “feeding your spirit” with the spiritual food from God’s holy word. A good question to ask yourself is ‘when is the last time I read the bible long enough that I felt like I had just received a bath on the inside?’ If it has been more than a few days since you last felt that way after reading your bible, then you are neglecting it. If you want to find the hidden treasures and experience the impact of having God speak to you personally through your daily bible study time, There are two important things you must pray before you examine the first verse. You need to ask the Lord in prayer what book or chapters he would want you to study, and that the Holy Spirit, would speak to you as you read.
Secondly, two of the words I just mentioned in the previous sentences are very important: examine and study. You need to examine each verse and sometimes each individual word carefully. Don’t proceed until you understand sufficiently what each sentence is saying. Then go the extra step to study what you have read by pausing to meditate on what is being conveyed and sometimes even “cross reference” any verses that you sense you need to highlight or look at other similar verses located in other chapters or books that bring even more understanding or illumination to what is being conveyed. A person studying in this manner may only get through one chapter in thirty minutes of study, but will gain more spiritual insight than another person who has read over five chapters, but has not paused to consider what they have read. See Psalms 1 & 119:9-11& 105, Romans 10:17, John 8:31-32, II Timothy 2:15 & 3:15-16.
Psalms 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
2. Pray until you know in your spirit that you have truly prayed. When is the last time you entered into prayer and stayed in prayer until you sensed the atmosphere around you had changed? Or you prayed over an issue until you sensed that the “breakthrough” had been obtained? See also Matthew 6:6-15, 1 Thess. 5:17, II Thess. 3:1, Phil. 4:6, Eph. 1:16-19.
Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
Matthew 6:6- 12 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
3. Worship until you can sense that you are “worshiping in spirit” as Jesus described in John 4:23-24. This is not merely taking time out of your day to sing a few songs, but setting aside time to enter into God’s presence by worship. While there are certainly many aspects to worship, the point is that you should make time every day to open our mouths and from our heart sing praises and give thanksgiving to God. We should get alone to express ourselves to God, and to magnify Him because He is worthy. In so doing, we activate the promise that God “inhabits” the praise of His people (Psalms 22:3), and He comes and ministers to our hearts when we make time to worship him. See John 4:23-24, Ephesians 5:18-20, Psalms 100, 149 & 150, 50:23, 9:1-2, Hebrews 2:12.
Ephesians 5:18-20 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
4. Regularly significantly “connect” with a fellow brother or sister in the Lord, and genuinely fellowship with a group of believers. For men, you need to make time to interact with a fellow brother in Christ, and with women, with a fellow sister. This is not simply taking five minutes to say “hello” and exchange general information, but to actually “connect” with another brother to the point that you both have “opened” up about what you are dealing with, experiencing, or to “give voice” to the theme or subject that is currently “front-and-center” in our hearts. A person that is regularly engaging in James 5:16 which says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed,” is going to receive significant strength to stand against temptation, and will gain ground in their personal walk in general.
There are three types of people every person should have in their life and attempt to connect with regularly. You need at least one “Paul” which is someone that is older in the Lord and has wisdom gained through the knowledge of experience than you are that you can confer with. You also need a good number of “Barnabas’s” which are fellow Christians of the same gender and similar in your growth in God that you can share with, pray with, and through your interaction you “sharpen” each other.
In doing this, it is very important that you regularly come together with a small contingent of believers (preferably around 15 or less) where there is opportunity to do what is described in 1 Corinthians 14:26 “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation, let all things be done for edification.” See also Colossians 3:16.
See: 2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:24-25, Proverbs 27:17, 11:14, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Acts 2:42-46 & Ecclesiastes 4:9-11.
5. Minister to another believer or witness to a lost person. One of the greatest “highs” you can ever experience in your time here on earth is when God uses you to lead someone else to Christ or to witness to a person that is genuinely interested, pray with someone to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or minister in word and/or in prayer with a fellow believer that is struggling with an issue. Every believer needs an “outflow”. God did not save you, fill you, or put gifts inside you just so you can sit weekly in a pew and do nothing in terms of significantly impacting others. See Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8, Phil. 2:3-4, 1 Cor. 10:24, II Timothy 2:2, Proverbs 11:30, Daniel 12:3, James 5:20
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Phil. 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
An Important Addendum- the need to regularly, faithfully gather with the body at large: Why is what I am about to list not included in the “fab five?” Because for one, it should be very obvious that we should assemble together each week to worship as a church and to hear the word of the Lord from someone in ministry. Secondly, and arguably most important as it pertains to the above list, for many people, their weekly church attendance is sufficient and in their minds, covers their deficiencies in the five areas we have listed.
Bearing this in mind, it is absolutely important that a person weekly puts themselves into position to receive ministry from the “five-fold” ministries as referred to in Eph. 4:11-16. This is one of the key benefits as to why we come together to worship in a “large group” setting on Sunday mornings. It gives an opportunity to hear a word from the Lord to the body of Christ in general from any one of the five anointed ministry offices or areas that God has given to the church for edification and growth. See Acts 11:26-30 & 20:7-8, Hebrews 10:23-25.