8 ways to get better at following – part one

What if one goal this year is to learn more about God this year? Or maybe, to get to know God better. What are some of the things you could do that would be helpful?

1. Stop hedging your bets. We want a backup plan to following God. If he doesn’t come through, if he isn’t real, we want to have our spiritual bets covered. I understand. But David, in one of his prayers, writes

Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

The image of an undivided heart is very compelling to me. Risky, but compelling.

2. Find a model. Paul writes to some friends in Philippi and says,

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

I know, and Paul knew, that people fail. All the time. But he’s not saying to find perfect people. Instead, find people who are working on following, who know God a little better than you do, and talk with them.

3. Find a community. I don’t mean “find a church.” Not necessarily. I mean find some other people who are working on following, and talk with them about what you are learning. (See number 2). It could even happen here, starting in the comments, as you talk with each other.

4. Repent – It’s a Bible-sounding word. Our stereotypes put it on signs held by old guys. But Jesus said it, too.  Simply, it means “turn around”. It’s about going toward. We find the need to do this in relationships all the time. If you are hurting your spouse, you need to stop. If you are running away, you need to turn around.

5 thoughts on “8 ways to get better at following – part one

  1. Joseph Ruiz

    I am reading and processing Dallas Willard’s book “Hearing God” because this year I do want to get closer to God. Before i can follow I have to hear him and I have a lot to learn here.

    I want to follow him because he says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. This is compelling to me. But the tension for me is point number one in your post. I need to follow point 4 and repent of always wanting a back up plan! I want to live in safety not risking all.

    On the first day of this new year with new possibilities I am confessing to you (taking a bit of a risk 😉 ) that I want to embrace God’s plan and purpose for my life. I want to walk the narrow path, accepting his yoke.

    Jon thanks for providing a safe place where we can share, be challenged and journey on the narrow path together.
    Happy New Year to you and those who follow 300 Words a day. May this year be one of discovery and growth in Christ.
    Grace and Peace


    1. Jon Swanson

      Joe, sorry to take so long in replying.

      I’ve read bits of that book, but I’m glad you reminded me of it.

      Thank you for taking me back to the offer of a yoke that works, that fits well. As we carry so many burdens so much of the time (at least some of us), the offer is compelling. But how? Why do we feel, sometimes, that following Jesus is the exact opposite of a light burden? So many obligations, so much measuring up.

      But still there is the offer. We’ll look more at that this year, I think.

      Thanks for being public.


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  3. Pingback: Being a model. | 300 words a day

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