Being a follower of God, or disciple, is a journey of faith.
Ultimately, when we begin our walk with God (as the disciples did with Jesus), we know nothing about Him besides the things we’ve been told. Even in those things – they aren’t things we intimately know for ourselves of Him.
I wanted to write this post for a two-fold reason. The first just to share because sometimes people have a hard time connecting with God because they don’t always know how (each experience is personal). The second reason was to remind myself not to get caught up in the habit of doing something that I neglect its importance in my spiritual growth and development in Christ.
Pillar 1: Tithing
Sometimes I forget how many people don’t tithe. Many are the reasons – they donate to charitable organizations instead, they believe they no longer have to according to their interpretation of the Bible, and others simply don’t because they don’t attend church and never saw a reason to.
There was a time when I struggled with tithing to be honest with you. Sometimes I did. Other times, when my bills were bigger than my money, I didn’t. It’s not because I didn’t want to, it’s because I believed I couldn’t. I believed that God would understand that I had to take care of myself. I was already short. God wouldn’t mind if I used these $50 or $90 or whatever the amount was to supplement. Right?
The thing is, I was wrong every time. That money didn’t add anything to the bottom line MOST times, I wanted to give and now I was denying myself of that joy and principle, and truthfully, had I been a better steward of my money and time it wouldn’t have become an issue.
Eventually, I committed to paying my tithe no matter what state my money was in because I wanted to increase my faith and release my need for control with money. Since making that decision, I have never NOT had money to pay all my bills, I’ve gotten multiple promotions on jobs that increased my tithing abilities, and I don’t feel right if I don’t tithe.
As I said in the beginning, it’s a journey of faith. It’s not just about a “Christian rule” or something the church encourages. I noticed in the Bible that God accepted the sacrifices of those who gave to Him of their “firstfruits”. It wasn’t even about being rewarded for giving. God simply acknowledged their hearts toward Him, that it was good and considerate of Him first as head over their lives. That’s the energy I want in my life.
Pillar 2: Praying
This probably should have been the first one because before I was ever tithing or reading the bible on my own, I was praying. They were super short, not in the least bit intense, and full of “God could you…”, but I prayed. I knew there was a source who was bigger and greater than me who I could turn to, so I did. As I’ve gotten stronger in my faith walk, I’d like to think I’ve grown a bit in this area. Prayers are now lengthy conversations that go on throughout the day with no end. They get a ton more intense when I ride in the car alone or take a shower lol. But prayer helps me to keep my sanity. There’s a comfort in talking to a big God. He is my comfort and secret counsel. The Bible also talks about Him being a revealer. Fam – I be needing some stuff revealed to me, ok! (Excuse the grammar. It was necessary for my theatrics.)
Pillar #3: Singing in Worship
Singing is one of my greatest joys – whether I’m doing the crooning or someone else, but ESPECIALLY when the singing is about Jesus. So many emotions get involved. So much assurance in powerful lyrics. Conviction even. I can stay all day and come back tomorrow. God is just so good, y’all. And sometimes singing stuff out that you can’t find the words to pray is the best. Listening to other worship leaders and groups express their relationship with Jesus is an amazing thing to join in on and watch unfold. You’ve just got to experience it for yourself and really dig deep. (If you want some recommendations for what I’ve been watching non-stop on YouTube, let me know.)
Pillar #4: Consuming & Understanding the Word
There was a time I did not like reading the Bible. It was just a drag. I didn’t understand it much and when I did read, it was basically Psalms. Now, I have a greater appreciation for the Word of God simply because I know that the Word IS God. I can’t say I want to get to know Him and understand Him and never “read” Him. Reading the Bible has now become this conversation between me and God. It’s no longer a “drag”. It’s a whole situation that I lack the proper words to describe it. I want to know more. I search. I Google. I look up definition of words for more clarity and different perspectives, etc. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a “Bible scholar”. I’ve only been actively getting into the Bible for a little over a year. Before that I was reading the Bible, but with a lot less intention.
Pillar #5: Learning to Trust Him
This has been one of the top three most trying of the seven pillars because I. AM. A. CONTROL. FREAK. I’m a fixer. I want to control situations, my money, people and how they interact with me, people’s perception of me, how things work out for other people’s lives (especially my family), the way people think when I think they’re crazy….you get the picture.
There just came a point where I just stepped back and realized that this life is not my own and God is going to do what he’s going to do. My job is to live in faithful obedience and just trust that He’s who he says He is, that He will do what He said He would do and that His intentions towards me are what He said they are.
This part of me is a continuous work in progress. Every time I think I’ve graduated to another level, God is like – “oh here you go. You still trust me?”
Pillar #6: Learning to Live out the Fruit of the Spirit
In 2019, I returned to the work of teaching the youth Sunday School at church. One of the first things I re-introduced to them were the fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
We dwelled on this subject for weeks because it brought up so much – each individual word. It’s crazy how we want people to treat us so well in life, but we have a hard time reciprocating it ourselves. Better yet – we have a hard time showing these things first. We don’t want to be the ones who act in love and kindness because we’re wondering if it will be returned. But the fruit of the Spirit is something that should naturally come out of you once you’ve been introduced to Christ and transformed by the renewing of your mind. Life is no longer about us. It’s about how we can serve others.
Pillar #7: Teaching & Talking with Others about Him
In the spirit of serving others – teaching and talking with people about meet about Jesus and the Word of God is another pillar of my walk with God that I’d love to increase at some point. Yes, I teach the kids. They’re awesome. But I know there’s a teacher’s call on my life that’s bigger. Maybe it’s more kids. Maybe its adults included. Maybe it’s friends or family. Maybe there’s an outreach component. Who knows? I think the best we can do is acknowledge these gifts and callings we recognize in our lives and find opportunities to make use of them – even in small ways. You don’t have to be a televangelist. You just have to share your heart and experience with God, hoping that one day, someone’s life will be impacted.
Another way to teach someone is to live.
In the comments below, let me know if you’ve struggled with any of these pillars. Are there any that are your strong suit? Partner with me – keep me accountable, friend. I need it lol.
All my Love,