5 Ways to Improve Your Faith Journey in 2024

5 Ways to Improve Your Faith Journey in 2024 December 30, 2023

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

New Year’s Day is traditionally a time when people make “New Year’s Resolutions.” People make these resolutions to try to improve some aspect of their lives.  In that vein, why not consider these 5 ways to improve your faith journey in 2024?

Improve Your Faith: Connect with a local church

Is church attendance optional? The COVID shutdowns only exacerbated a trend away from church attendance that had started years before. I’m not someone who thinks the past was always “the good old days.” However, I do remember people viewing church attendance differently when I was young. Our church had services on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening, and people actually came!

I’m not saying that every church should return to that schedule. I do believe it would be helpful for everyone’s faith journey to get more connected to their church. Part of the problem is that, somewhere along the way, we started thinking of church attendance as an “obligation.” Human nature being what it is, when we see an obligation, we start looking for a way out of it!

But what if church attendance isn’t an obligation, but a gift from God? What if God planned for us to be a part of a local body because he knew it would help us? Consider the benefits of being part of a local church:

  • Fellowship and encouragement from fellow believers
  • Opportunities for service
  • Corporate worship (after all, heaven will be full of such worship!)
  • Correction and accountability (when needed)
  • A sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves

Improve Your Faith: Increased, intentional prayer time

I don’t think any follower of Jesus would deny that prayer is important. After all, when Jesus taught us to pray (the Lord’s Prayer; Matthew 6:9-13), he said, “When you pray, pray like this…” Not “if,” but “when.” We all understand that, but what we often forget is that the Bible also tells us to pray together. Jesus also said, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). “Two of you agreeing about anything they ask” sounds a lot like corporate prayer, doesn’t it?

Of course, that doesn’t mean that corporate prayer can only take place “at church.” But such prayer certainly should be part of our church gatherings! I often say to our church family that the Bible clearly anticipates that God’s people will gather together for prayer (for example, James 5:14-15). And the Bible also reflects that things happen when God’s people pray together that don’t happen otherwise!

Improve Your Faith: Tell your story!

Jesus called his followers to be “witnesses” – to tell others about Him. In fact, in Acts 1:8, he told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would empower them to be witnesses: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…” The clear implication is that the power is given to enable us to be witnesses. But I think we often view “witnessing” too narrowly. There are all sorts of compilations of Scripture verses to help explain to someone how to accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness and life. (And it is good to know what Scripture teaches about that!) But when I think about what the Bible shows us about witnessing, I come to the conclusion that it basically means “telling your story.”

That’s consistent with the way we view “being a witness” in a secular setting. In addition to being a pastor, I’m an attorney. In the legal system, a “witness” is generally someone who shares first-hand knowledge that they have about some aspect of the case being tried. There is an exception to that, for “expert witnesses”; experts are those who have some specialized knowledge beyond that of the “ordinary person.”

It would be a terrible mistake to think that we need to be “experts” in order to witness! Instead, we just need to tell our stories. Tell what your life was like before you came to faith in Jesus. Explain how He has worked in your life as you’ve journeyed with Him. Share specific stories about answers to prayer, or how God helped you with some particular issue. You have a story; tell it!

Improve Your Faith: Live generously

I often hesitate to talk about giving, because many people outside the church tend to think that “churches are only interested in money.” In truth, I’m only interested in what God is interested in – and the Bible talks about money and generosity a lot. At the heart of all of that talk about giving are a couple of basic principles. First, everything belongs to God.The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1, emphasis added). If it belongs to God, then it’s not really “mine”; God has just entrusted it to me.

Second, obedience to God in the area of giving is simply a demonstration of our faith. Satan tries to convince us that we can’t “afford” to give; God promises to supply all of our needs. Who do we listen to?

I think people who struggle in this area get it backwards; they ask God to supply “extra,” and then they’ll give. Instead, God calls us to give out of faith – not because God has supplied, but because we trust that He will. If we give after God supplies, that’s not faith; that’s gratitude. Gratitude is good, but Scripture doesn’t say that we are saved by grace through gratitude. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, emphasis added). Stretch your faith, and watch God work!

Improve Your Faith: Immerse yourself in God’s Word

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
  • All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Study after study have reflected that people – even those who profess to follow Jesus – are spending less and less time reading Scripture. If God’s Word is what feeds us, too many of us are starving ourselves!

There are any number of Bible reading plans and devotional books available. I prefer the system and schedule set out in The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro (see my previous post, “Join Me on a Journey!”). This system encourages us to read and reflect on Scripture, and then to journal what God is saying to us. God’s Word is a lamp for our feet. Scripture is inspired by God. God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth (John 16:13). Reading His Word, and listening to the Spirit each day, will transform your faith journey!

Improve Your Faith Journey!

I know that you might not be ready to tackle all five of these suggestions at once. You may not need to address all five of these areas. But I’m confident that focusing on at least one of them will improve your faith journey in the coming year. Take inventory of your spiritual walk. What area do you think needs the most attention? Start there!

But I’m also confident that as you see God work in that area, you’ll want to move to another, and another. As Paul wrote, “Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Let’s make 2024 the best year of our journey ever!

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