If I were starting school again this September, I’d definitely print this post out and stick it on my wall to remind me every day to keep prioritising the right things. A big thank you to Gabrielle for sharing such great truths with us as we ready our hearts for a new term. L x
Festivals, camping trips, Christian events, new friends… Summer is a great time to invest in your faith and grow spiritually. Over this season, so many of us end up more passionate for God than we’ve ever been! When a friend took me along to various Christian events last summer, God completely changed my perspective. I began to develop a true relationship with Him: I studied the Bible more, prayed more, and began to use my gift of music to glorify Him. My heart was on fire for God!
And yet, starting school again after exploring your faith in new ways can be difficult. Amongst classes, school work and friends, all of sudden there’s no room for Christ in your routine. Life gets a bit too much sometimes and sadly Jesus gets swept under the rug! To overcome this, it’s important that we prioritise Jesus in our lives. So…
~ 6 tips for staying close to Jesus ~
“Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Relationships thrive when there’s communication! Pray when you wake up, when you’re sipping your tea, on the way to class – there’s no limit to how much God wants us to speak to Him. When you don’t feel like praying, just pray! Even pray about finding the motivation to pray. It doesn’t have to be an hour long, elaborate prayer filled with spontaneous bible quotes – simply approach God with what’s truly on your heart like you would a friend.
2. Read His word
Whether it’s one verse or one chapter, the more we read the Bible, the closer we draw to Him. God provided His word to get to know Him and His will for our lives. Reading is one thing, but also taking notes, meditating and praying on what you have read will help the message sink in.
Daily devotionals such as Word 4 U 2Day are great at breaking down scripture, helping you understand, and encouraging further study. If you’re struggling, I recommend you invest in a devotional that works for you (and they’re usually free, yay!).
Your faith will seriously benefit from finding pockets in the day to read the Bible – I tend to read mine on the bus to school. The Bible is a beautiful book that reveals something new every time you read it, so take your time with it, and before you read, pray!
3. Be creative
A while ago, Glasgow University CU ran a campaign with the phrase: ‘Do what you love, and take God with you.’ Love to paint? Glorify God with your art. Love to run? Play Christian podcasts while running. Love to write? Write a blog post about your spiritual journey. During the mayhem of the school term, time out with Jesus can unfortunately become another chore!
However, the possibilities are endless when it comes to worshipping Jesus. We’re all designed with different talents and it brings such fulfillment to use these gifts to draw closer to God. Rather than cancelling time for your hobby, you can let God transform your hobby to another means of worship! Do what you love, and take God with you.
4. Spend time with like-minded people
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
It’s amazing to come across friends who share your passion for Christ! After attending Christian programmes this summer, you’ve probably made some great friends – stay close to them. If you haven’t got any Christian friends, there are plenty of youth groups where you can meet people (google: “Christian youth group” and your area!).
Christian friends encourage discussions on your faith, Bible study, and spiritual support. Recently, God’s blessed me with a beautiful group of Christian friends and they’ve played a significant role in my spiritual growth.
5. Consider fasting
Fasting is total/partial denial of food for a certain amount of time, in which we are humbled and focus less on our physical but more on our spiritual needs. For instance, Jesus embarked on a period of fasting in spiritual preparation before being tempted by Satan, where he rejected the desires of His flesh for a greater, divine cause.
Through fasting we can gain a fresh new desire and deeper worship as there is a greater focus on your spiritual relationship with Jesus.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1)
We are so much more than physical beings, fasting reminds us of our one true desire – Jesus Christ. If you find fasting overwhelming, speak to your family or somebody experienced from your church before deciding whether to go ahead – or do it with friends for support. Prayer + fasting = a powerful combination!
6. Love others
“This I command you – to love one another.” (John 15:17)
The Bible speaks A LOT on loving our neighbours. As ambassadors of a loving God, it’s natural that He wants us to show the world His love. Little things – paying for someone’s lunch, helping with school work, starting a conversation – can minister God’s love to others. As we do His work here on earth, it’s pleasing to Him. Besides, faith in God without putting His word into action is dead! (James 2:14-26). Jesus speaks of how loving others reflects our love for Him (Matthew 25:31-40). So, keep an eye out for anyone in need!
All in all, don’t worry. Being a Christian is a life-long journey in which you’ll endure highs and lows (trust me). However, God will never forsake you. Remember: Jesus at the centre!
While studying Music and English at college (East London Arts and Music), Gabrielle writes, produces and performs her own music. Although she writes about all aspects of her life, she is particularly passionate about worshipping Christ and is determined to use her gifts for His glory.