Five Characteristics you should cultivate to grow in your relationship with Jesus:
1. Live Obediently – by knowing Jesus, His *Word and doing what Jesus commands.
It Requires God’s Power. The moment you became a believer, the Holy Spirit took up permanent residence in you to empower you to live obediently. Jesus told His disciples,
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth…He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)
As our helper, God’s Spirit begins to change us from the inside out. However, we need to yield control of our life to God, moment-by-moment, and ask God for help to obey. Sheer willpower or trying harder will never accomplish what God’s power in us can.
It Requires Knowing God’s Word. We cannot live obediently until we know what the Bible says. As we read and study God’s Word, we learn what pleases Him and how we should live. Many old ideas and habits will have to be replaced with God’s truth and His ways.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
This verse begins with two alternatives. What are they?
According to this verse, what is the outcome of a renewed mind?
Begin now to fill your mind with God’s word. Maybe start by reading a chapter a day in the Gospel of John. That is a great way to get to know Jesus better, what he is really like, the kinds of things he did, and what he taught.
For a great resource on how to understand and read your Bible – try this
2. Serve Selflessly – by using our gifts, talents, and resources for others.
This is simple: when you see a need, step up and fill that need. This is how Jesus served.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
• What attitude did Jesus demonstrate in this passage?
Jesus served selflessly. He is God’s Son; he could live as entitled a life as He wanted, but he set that all aside to become a servant and die on the cross for us. We are to have the same attitude Jesus had. In humility, He put the needs of others above his own.
How do we do this at Hope? We challenge you to serve because it’s an important way to be like Christ, whether it’s serving in the parking lot, greeting people at the door, helping in Student Ministry, KidCity, or taking care of babies in the nursery. Serving selflessly helps us collectively further the mission to which God has called us (that’s you!).
To find ways to “serve selflessly” at Hope, click here.
3. Connect Intentionally – with others in community.
If you just show up at church, but don’t connect and build relationships, it’s going to be easy to get discouraged. The world tells us that we should be self-made men and women. It tells us we should be strong enough without others and to guard our own space, time, and stuff. God’s word tells us to get connected with other believers.
“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
• What is the main benefit of meeting with other believers?
Believe it or not, we were actually created to need others in our lives. Take a log off the fire, and it goes cold. Stack logs together and watch the flame grow and burn intensely. So it is with our faith and our lives. We need one another to grow in our relationship with Jesus.
How do we do this at hope? Get into a small group and make it a lifelong habit.
4. Give Generously – to God who gave us everything.
When you see a church in action, realize that somebody gave and provided all of this so you could be loved and encouraged. Now it is your turn to begin doing the same so we can reach others. Jesus said:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20
- What can happen to our earthly treasures? What’s the only truly safe investment?
- According to Jesus, does my treasure follow my heart, or does my heart follow my treasure? Why is this important to understand?
It is important to understand that God does not need our money. He created the universe, he has to power to create anything, and He has no needs. So why do we give?
- First, giving makes us more like our heavenly Father, who gave his only Son for us (John 3:16). How can we not give back in response to what God has given us? Gratitude drives generosity.
- Second, our affections follow our investments. Have you ever bought a certain type of car and now it seems everyone is driving one? Nothing changed except now your attention is on where you invested. Think of how giving generously will change your perspective on what God is doing around you!
How do we do this at Hope? Giving occurs by monetary means, time, and serving. To learn more about where your monetary giving goes at Hope, click here. To learn how to give at Hope, click here.
5. Share Willingly – about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
One of the best ways to share your faith is simply to share your own story of how you came to Christ and how he has changed your life. People can argue what is or is not true in the Bible, but one thing they have a hard time denying is the power of a changed life.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
- What attitude should we have when we share our faith?
- Why do you believe it’s important to do so gently and respectfully?
- How is this similar to what God has made available to us?
- What are some ways you can be “prepared” to share your story?
Just before he returned to heaven, Jesus told his disciples:
“”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
- Where does the power to share our faith come from?
- Have you ever seen something so amazing that later you just had to tell someone about it?
- In a courtroom, what does an eye witness pledge to tell?
A witness tells what they have seen or experienced. So when you meet someone and they see that your life is different, you have an opportunity to say, “Let me tell you why.” It can be helpful to think of your personal faith story in three parts: My life before Christ, how I came to faith in Christ, changes Christ has made in my life. Remember to make Christ the focus of your story, as the one who saved you and is changing your life.
You never want to be pushy, and we should always remain humble as we share what God has done with others but remember….
You know the truth that can save a life. You cannot withhold what could change someone’s destiny forever.