Living a purposeful and effective Christian life with a spiritual mindset doesn’t come naturally to us. In general, we are more earthly minded, haphazardly rushing about our day completing tasks, going to meetings, running errands—focusing on the urgent, but not necessarily the important duties of life. Few of us have ever taken the time to develop a plan of action that will lead to a more effective and purposeful spiritual existence. Here are 5 practical steps we can take each and every day to maximize our impact in our little corner of the world:
- Encourage a family member with a note, a kind word or a helpful act. Everyone needs regular encouragement. Our husbands need to hear that we appreciate them, our kids need to know that we’ve noticed their progress and growth. I mean, who doesn’t love a note in their lunchbox signed with a heart, or a message scribbled in lipstick on the mirror? How about a Bible verse taped to the closet door? A little note only takes a minute. A simple act like taking over a person’s chore for the day or giving them a spontaneous back rub can really lift their spirits. You know what actions speak love to your child or to your husband. Plan to implement one of those actions each day.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
- Encourage someone outside of your family by sending a text (it only takes a second), writing a card, or paying a visit. We all know someone who is either in the midst of a health crisis, going through family struggles or just needing some encouragement. Maybe there is an elderly widow or widower in your church or neighborhood who needs to see a smiling face or to simply know that someone cares. Loneliness is a very real struggle in the waning years of life. On days when you find yourself with a little extra time, maybe you can bake a pie or deliver a flower bouquet to someone in need. The point is to look outside your family each day and think of someone who needs encouragement. Then, be Jesus to them.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
- Meditate on God’s Word. Find some time in your day for a few moments of quiet solitude to read and meditate on the Bible. His Word is our instruction manual for living. It is also God’s love letter to us—a view into his very heart. How can we possibly know God and his purpose for our lives if we never read his Word? If you’re not sure where to start, use a daily devotional as a guide, choose a book of the Bible to read through over a few days, or just begin where the spirit leads. You may have to be creative in finding time. If you work outside the home, perhaps you can slip away to your car at lunchtime, or get up early in the morning before the kids. The Bible is a treasure trove of insight, wisdom, and comfort. Dive into it every day!
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Spend time in prayer. Prayer is not a magical, mystical practice; it is simply a conversation with God. We pray in order to take our struggles, fears and questions before Him seeking mercy, healing and help for ourselves and others. In addition, it is through prayer that we thank and praise God for all he has done for us and for all that we have. The time and place are not that important. In fact, prayer is to be an ongoing attitude of the heart. We have access to God anytime, anywhere, and for any reason. He is always waiting patiently to hear from us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
- Invest in your personal health and wellness by getting some exercise (this could mean walking the dog or working in the garden—no gym membership necessary!) and taking the time to prepare a healthy meal or snack. Like it or not, it is through these imperfect human bodies of ours that we minister to others and carry forth the message of Christ to the world. Therefore, we need to have the energy and stamina to complete the task. That means making sure there is some sort of physical activity in our day and that we eat, in moderation, a variety of the delicious and colorful foods that God has provided for us. Rest is another important component to health and wellness that we often overlook. Make time for a nap or plan to get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Or, just step away from your life for a few moments and do something relaxing that you love. (reading!)
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
If we can incorporate these 5 habits for Christian living into our daily routine, we will become more effective in ministry and in life as we learn to: love and encourage others, develop our relationship with God, and take care of our earthly temple. Let’s begin today!