“A sower went out to sow his seed… And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture… Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God…And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.”
Luke 8: 5-14 ESV
Hello and happy holiday season!
God has planted this passage of scripture in my heart recently. My focus right now is on building a foundation of faith so that God’s word no longer falls on me as if I was the rock in this parable. To not be the rock is extremely relevant during this season of celebration when many are reminded to be thankful on Thanksgiving or when church attendance spikes on the 25th. It can be easy to feel more inclined to have a relationship with God during this season when the mood is so joyous. But, what about the rest of the year?
For me, at least, maintaining a consistent dedication to seeking a relationship with God has been a challenge. Studying the bible, praying, and searching for God’s work in everyday life aren’t meant for only this time of the year, but rather require constant perseverance. This realization came upon me recently. It involved me realizing that reading the bible is not the same thing as studying the bible. Just like in school, reading is more passive and studying is more active. Studying involves reading while critically thinking, taking notes, memorizing- you know how to study. Reading, however, does not necessarily entail any absorption or higher level of thinking. More importantly though, I realized that to “have a relationship with God” is similar to having a relationship with any other person, it involves getting to know God (through studying the bible) and it is maintained like any other relationship is, through communication. Talking with God is done through prayer, though I don’t believe that there is a “correct” way to pray. Now, communication goes both ways, God listens and so we should listen to what God puts in our hearts. Another way that relationships are maintained are through acts of service, like helping a friend in times of need. Similarly, we can sustain and grow relationships with God by serving him. This could include volunteering or devoting our time to studying his word. There is no limit to the ways in which we can serve him.
So, while now is always a good time to start seeking God, don’t let your desire to know him end with the season, just to be renewed again next year.
With all of this in mind, these are the two main resources I am currently using:
- The Bible App: I use this portable version of the bible on my iPhone to read, bookmark, and highlight bible verses. Also, it has numerous versions available, many with audio. The best part is the reading plans organized by topics such as dating, work, and new to faith. You can receive daily reminders to work on your plan or to read the verse of the day.
- Online video messages by Champions Centre Church: These are AMAZING, inspirational, creative messages recorded on Sunday mornings. I have found these to be such a positive resource in my life because they allow me to learn and grow my faith from wherever I am.
I encourage everyone to open up their minds and hearts to God this season and to seek a relationship with him, what have you got to