Living beyond Sunday
I spent a good enough portion of my life in this perpetual merry-go-round of faith. I would go to church on Sunday and have this amazing experience in worship. I sang all the songs, I cried, laughed and left feeling inspired and encouraged by the word. I wouldn't pull out of the parking lot sometimes before that euphoric spiritual high settled and I was back to getting road rage on the way home, texting a boyfriend to come over and fool around or talking badly behind a friend's back. What happened? I went from being on top of the world to going back to many of the habits I was repenting for that very Sunday. After years of this behavior I subconsciously began to place little value on God and the church experience. I believed that church didn't matter because I was not changed; furthermore God always forgives so there was no need to change.
Looking back I didn't understand how to apply my Sunday experience to my everyday life. I knew that God wanted more from my life but I didn't know how to make that happened. My everyday life and Sunday seemed so disconnected. Now that I have grown in faith and I wanted to share how to worship God during the rest of the week.
1) Study the scripture from Sunday's message. Studying the Bible can be daunting however, a simple way to get started is by studying the scriptures referenced in Sunday's message. I used to take notes and never look at it again, but now I look through my notes throughout the week and reflect on the scriptures mentioned. You may gain a whole new perspective on what was being discussed, additionally most Bibles will show a cross reference scripture. You can study the context in which the scripture was written, what was going on during that time and who the author was -the possibilities are endless. Studying what was discussed gives you greater revelation and allows you to be closer in line to the heart of what your Pastor/leader is trying to impart on your local body of Christ.
2) Carve out daily praise and worship time with God. I can be at home getting ready for work, having a quiet moment after dinner or in my car; but I daily have this moment of praise toward God. I typically will put on music and sing out loud, worshiping the same as I would do on a Sunday. This practice has become a habit and it has shown me that church is much bigger than a building it is a mindset. That we are always connected to Jesus he is always there and when we take that time to praise him he fills our hearts with so much joy. This time you carve out doesn't have to be perfect or for a set amount of time God will honor your endeavor to find the time.
3) Living a mission minded life. We often think of mission work as some far removed ministry that happens overseas and has nothing to do with our daily lives. However, you can “do missions” right where you live. One of the biggest eye opening things I learned on a recent mission trip to India that mission work was as simple as every day conversations. I believe that God has placed so many people around us who need to hear the gospel, who are lost and depressed, who could use encouragement and support and the list goes on. Open up your heart and your eyes to these needs. The more you steward the needs of those God has placed in your path the more he will increase your territory.
4) Stop putting your leader on a pedestal. For many years I looked up to the leadership in the various churches I attended and thought: “They are so holy, I could never be like that.” Maybe you aren't as negative, but the point is I put them in this whole new realm of humanity in my mind; I distanced that person's character from everyday life. I didn't realize that these leaders struggle just as I do, they have challenges and must make choices every day. I realized that the same grace that gave my leaders spiritual eloquence and fortitude was available to me. I began to recognize the humanity of these people and that their lives were a result of God’s grace.
5) God is concerned with every aspect of your life. I used to think that God just cared how I was in church and how good I was to the outside. However, through study I began to realize that He was concerned with every aspect of my life, I couldn't just give him a corner and say “work with that” I had to give it all to him. That mindset helped me acknowledge God when I brushed my teeth, while I was exercising or making dinner; his will for my life became entrenched in the details. Living like this creates no room for separation between you and God. You will create this on-going dialogue throughout the day with God that will sustain you and guide your actions.
I pray that these points encourage someone who is trying to apply the word on Sunday to their everyday life. Get determined about living a life where your spiritual tank is not on E, and by the time Sunday rolls around you are spiritually dehydrated. Christ died so we can have this fullness of life – so take it!