The "How To" series - This blog series focuses on helping men with the "how to's" of living a God-Centered life.
#1 - How To... become a devoted follower of Jesus?
There has always been a longing in my heart. There has always been an ache. I want my life to have significance. I want my life to mean something. I want my life to make a difference. I came to realize that the God who created me put that longing in me. He has put it in you, too. Now, if you don't believe in a Divine Being then you should stop reading right now. If you truly hold to your belief of no God and you hold to the idea that we all "just happened" through random selection, then there is no reason for you to keep on reading or to keep on living for that matter. You have no purpose. But if you do believe, or want to believe, there is a God, then read on.
So how do you and I answer that longing, that call to live a life of significance?
It all starts with knowing the One who put that longing in our heart. It starts with a daily relationship with your Creator. It starts with a surrendered life to God by giving our life back to Him to live His purposes for our life rather than living for ourselves. It starts with being God-centered rather than self-centered. It's a choice.
For me that first decision came on February 19, 1982. You can read the details in my first Cross Your Rubicon blog post. But the long and short of it is I reached a point of desperation. I was at the end of myself. Are you there yet? Are you really desperate? Are you willing to give up all your self-centered efforts for a God-centered life? If not, come back when you are. If you are, then read through this simple prayer. If it conveys your desperation then pray it with intention and meaning to the God who created you...
"God, my life is yours. It was always yours but I selfishly have been living it for me and not you. I have messed it up living it without You involved. I give it back to You now. Would you forgive me and fix me and change me to be what you intended? I now see and know the cruelty that Jesus went through on the cross was meant for me. It was not just a historical fact that You died on a cross, but a personal reality for me. You did that for me because You knew I would screw up my life and choices, and because of Your great love for me. I don't deserve it, but I accept Your grace and Your love and Your forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus. My life is now Yours. Amen."
Did anything happen? Yes, it did. If you didn't feel anything, that's OK. You don't need to feel truth in order for it to be real in your life. If you were honest with God and believe Him, then you are now His. This is why: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12, 13 ESV) Jesus said that about you and about me.
Your life is no longer about you, it is about God. Your life has significance because you were made in God's image and you belong to Him. You are not your own. You were bought with a price.
So now what? Follow through with what I call the "4 Gets"...
- Get real - Let me know about your decision. Don't hide it. Tell someone. Either me or someone else. You can e-mail me at tom@CrossYourRubicon.org.
- Get a mentor - Find a man you know that knows Jesus and tell them about your decision. Ask him to help you grow in your newfound relationship to God. Don't know someone? Then that can be your second prayer to God. "God, please send me a mentor." Watch how He does it!
- Get a Bible - The NIV version is a good one to use. Read a chapter a day starting in the gospel of John then read Matthew, Mark and Luke. (I'll talk to you about having an intentional daily time with God by reading the Bible in the next blog.)
- Get connected - Find a small group of men you can get together with to grow and learn to live a God-centered life. (I'll talk more about this in a later blog as well).
Don't forget the 4 Gets! For now, welcome to an exciting and challenging journey to live a God-centered life.
Dare to dream. Dare to do. Dare to be!
Tom Michaels Zahradnik is a minister and chaplain who serves as CEO of Sound of Life, Inc. You can connect with Tom at Rubicon Ministries by going to CrossYourRubicon.org. Tom and his wife, Cathleen, host the monthly Cross Your Rubicon podcast. Cathleen also hosts the blog, "Real Life Chats", focused on helping women build a God-centered life.