As the youth from our church are traveling back from the Youth Gathering in New Orleans I am remembering similar worship events that I have attended. I never had the opportunity to attend as a youth, but I have as an adult and I highly recommend an annual trek to a big worship event. You will be richly blessed. I have never left with an empty heart - a changed one for sure, but never empty. It has been my experience that you leave feeling so full of the spirit that you can feel it bubbling out of you onto others. You are on fire with love for Jesus and a desire to walk every footstep in line with His will. Your eyes have been opened to new verses which have spoken to the very heart of you and leave you with a hunger for more.
When you leave that place where God himself most certainly stood among you (because you could feel His presence to your very marrow) - it is like someone pulled the plug on the tub and your fullness starts draining away.
The first drain starts when you have to deal with the traffic leaving the arena. How hard it is to hang on to that full heart feeling when traffic is bumper to bumper and you can't find a single person to cut you some slack and let you out?! How quickly we return to our sin-filled selves behind the wheel of the car! (One of my major flaws!) Traffic clears, you take a breath and put on some praise music and your heart fills back up a little. Praising Jesus in song all the way home!
Then you get home and the house is a mess, your kids are still up and it is WAY past their bedtime and your husband just looks at you like,"What? I don't see a problem here." Now there is a whirlpool in the tub because it is draining so fast. You scowl at your spouse, scoot the kids off to bed and start the clean up. By the time you have yourself ready for bed you are hard pressed to capture the heart-full feeling you had a few hours ago. The new day dawns and it is back to the same old grind and you can't even remember how it felt to be full of the Spirit.
How do we capture that feeling a daily basis?
The most important way is to stay in the Word. Find time to read the Bible every day. There is a huge variety of devotional books and daily reading Bibles on the market. I have found books which are split into daily readings are easier for me to tackle than just sitting down and reading my study Bible. I also enjoy devotionals with uplifting stories along with a related Bible verse. I switch back and forth what I use each day depending on my mood. The key is to feed your spirit on a daily basis. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritualmilk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Peter 2:2).
Study your Bible! Preferably in a group setting where there is discussion and accountability. It is so much easier to stay focused on God when you are digging deep into His book. If you have never done a Bible study I challenge you to try one. Bible study is not boring! Both groups that I am in have a great time and we all feel like we are being better representatives of Christ to the world when we are entrenched in a study. If you don't know what is in the owner's manual how can you live the Christian life? Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bindthem on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 6:8)
Christian music is a great spirit filler. The lyrics are clean and you can find music to suit most any taste from classic hymns to hard rock. Personally, I listen to K-LOVE radio (which is all over the country, if you aren't familiar with it check klove.com for a station near you), K-LOVE is always on in the car. I never have to worry about what my children may hear or learn with K-LOVE on. Oh, how I love it when they sing along! I can't count the number of times that just the right song has played - with the exact lyrics I needed to hear. God is amazing like that. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music (Psalm 98:4).
Avoid Spirit suckers. I am not talking about people. That will have to be a whole different blog! I am talking about what you watch, read, listen to, play and do on a daily basis. If you could picture God looking over your shoulder at what you are filling your mind with would you still do it? Phillipians 4:8 gives very specific instruction on what we should focus on: Finally, brothers, whateveristrue, whateveris noble, whateveris right, whateveris pure, whateveris lovely, whateveris admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
Jesus said in the book of Revelation, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Jesus is telling us not to be complacent in our faith. Faith should be active and alive every day, not just something that you rouse awake on Sunday to go to church! I want my spirit to be burning hot, although I am woefully human and I run at all three temperatures, but my aim is for hot! I want to live so sparks are falling off of me catching others on fire, too!
If we could measure the health status of your faith by taking it's temperature would it be hot, cold or lukewarm?
If your find your status to be chilly, dust off your Bible, crank up the praise music and get your spiritual motor running!