When I was a teenager, I recognized that I wanted to be closer to God, but I just couldn’t figure out how to do it. I couldn’t seem to find the time to pursue a relationship with him when I was so busy with school and friends and everything else that occupies a teenager’s mind, even one attending Christian school and church.
The truth is, I had the time for whatever was truly a priority to me, just like everyone else.
But it didn’t occur to me until far into adulthood that pursuing God would require releasing certain activities and replacing them with more godly pursuits – a sort of Christian meal replacement therapy.
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1
The things I let go were not necessarily wrong in themselves, but they kept me from doing things that would draw me closer to God in some way, no matter how circuitous.
For example, I replaced my much beloved late-night HGTV watching with additional sleep. A fully rested me is more apt to display the fruits of the Spirit than a sleep-deprived me!
Other replacements more directly impacted my spirituality. I began to listen to sermons often in place of my favorite tunes. And when I did listen to music, my overwhelmingly secular playlist gradually morphed into a sacred one.
Whereas I once spent nearly all my time reading novels, I incorporated more Christian biographies and nonfiction, as well as more of the Bible. I began to read Christian blogs, and I decided to start my own – partly so that I would be compelled to spend more time in the Word as I researched and meditated upon the topics about which I would write.
Let me tell you, laying aside these weights has not always been easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no. The selfish self inside me still sometimes prefers mindless (though fairly wholesome) entertainment. But replacing those activities with more godly ones has fed my Christian inner woman, until she has grown to crave them.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19
What activities could you set aside to pursue a closer relationship with God? I welcome your honest and edifying comments, as always.