“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.”
Romans 12: 1
1. Allow the Lord to cleanse your soul clean by:
-Forgiveness “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15
-Repentance “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
-Removal of hinderances “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
This happens on a daily basis. I bring up my issues to the Lord in the morning, asking for strength for the day. At the end of the night, I ask the Lord to search my heart and if something comes up, I repent right away, choosing to give myself grace and patience (as we are all going from glory to glory). A daily assessment is not meant to be a burden but to get an accurate temperature of our heart stance. It does not determine the status of my relationship with God or my salvation, but it keeps Him on the throne of my heart as Lord over my life.
For example, if I am having issues with anger and being on Facebook is making this issue worse, I commit to doing something about it. (This might entail fasting Facebook for a while.)
It’s about staying in tune with what God is speaking in the moment…not to add a burden but to continue the intimacy of staying connected by working with His Spirit.
2. Fill up on the word!
The Bible is God’s truth and wisdom. It sounds so basic but it anything more complicated wouldn’t make Him accessible to us! Our Almighty God stoops before His creation, offering more than His presence but the actual mind of God.
Let’s be faithful to Him by not merely relying on the word the minute life gets rough, be consistent in our pursuit of Him. Of course, the more we get to know our Savior, the easier it is to love (and trust) His faithfulness.
Find a version of the Bible that resonates with you for a Bible that isn’t read is as useless as the parchment it is printed on. Once you discover that, go a bit deeper by zeroing in on a chapter or a passage; journal it, pray over it, ask God questions and wait upon Him for the answer. This is akin to having an open conversation, the essence of getting to know the heart behind His words. For me, this way of research and journaling has been the most precious gift of intimacy. Abba’s Heart was birthed from my time spent with God and am not the same person after spending time with my King.
3. Feed your spirit with daily ‘pit stops’ of:
–Thankfulness—If your mind wanders listing things you’re thankful for, try journaling your thankfulness. Or, how about writing a card to someone you’re thankful for? Go back as far as yesterday or even 20 years ago…as you take time to celebrate kindness, generosity and love, this opens your heart to looking for and receiving even more. The Bible also indicates this habit of prayerful thanksgiving is an anxiety-killer!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
–Worship– When you are crunched for time, play worship music as you get ready and really allow your spirit to engage with the meaning behind the words. Singing out-loud may feel silly (in the natural) but spiritually speaking, this a very powerful tool for shifting the atmosphere. It moves you from fear to faith while simultaneously boosting your own morale.
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to bless an inconsiderate driver (in traffic) whilst praising The Almighty? When God is amplified, our egos are better able to bow in His presence.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:38
4. Honor all authority:
-Honor your parents. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
-Honor your leaders (even if you do not like them). “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.” Romans 13:1-5
-Honor your word. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12: 9-13
Make honor your lifestyle; not only will those who give honor, be honored, but they position themselves as one who can be trusted to lead and speak into other’s lives. This is not about being ‘fake’ or manipulative. This is about honoring God’s command to honor all authority. It is about breaking the spirit of rebellion we are naturally bent towards. The spirit of rebellion is an anti-christ spirit and we should take no part in it.
5. Live with integrity for God values our character over our gifting.
For example, when you see a small injustice (like a rogue shopping cart left by a careless shopper), are you willing to make it right? We are called to be the light in a selfish world; it is those small acts of selflessness which defy the spirit working to harden our hearts.
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11
When speaking of sin, most of the time, it never STARTS with murder…but begins with tiny infractions. This is what the Bible means when it mentions a seared conscience. When we do not catch and repent for our sin (as soon as possible), we give the enemy a greater foothold, tipping our hearts in his destructive direction.
“Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2
6. If you are having any kind of trouble, start a fast.
Whenever I find myself not being able to reach spiritual break through, I ask the Lord if there is something I need to fast from. At times this could mean I refrain from meals, certain foods, television or daily pleasures.
Fasting is a powerful way to rein in the flesh and tap into your spirit because it breaks the yoke of bondage. This is about holding my will loosely, while clinging to His spirit for sustenance. Something great is always birthed when I lay down my agenda in order to serve a higher one. How ironic that my needs always seem to get met whenever I definitively align my heart with His!
“And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
Fun exercise: Express the 5 Love Languages TO God.
1. Acts of Service.
Ask God, “How can I serve your heart today?”
-Can I spend an hour just worshiping you?
“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” Psalms 132:7
2. Words of Affirmation.
Worship God by expressing your love for His goodness expressed in your life personally, not generally. This detailed account keeps the fires of intimacy stoked, for you and the receiver! Really stop and think about it, YOU have the POWER to bless The Almighty!
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:5
Offer your gifts (talents) to Him, asking, “How can I bless your heart with my talents?”
-Could I make a gift for someone who feels unworthy of love?
-Can take a moment to write a prophetic word for someone who needs encouragement?
-Should I call a friend who is going through a trial and pray them through it?
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10
4. Quality Time.
Replace time-wasters with intentional time in His word or presence. God has shown me this sacrifice has eternal rewards; we may never see the ‘fruit of it’ in our lifetime, but we will never regret time spent with Him. From God’s perspective, this is always an investment.
An example of this would be finding a Bible verse and pursuing God for deeper revelation on it.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
5. Physical touch.
Ask, “How can I be your hands and feet, Lord? Who can I bless with my intentional presence?
Examples would be:
-Can I offer to help a friend move?
-Make a meal for someone who is recovering from heartache or health issues?
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:12-14
We were made in the image of God. If we want to be loved and chosen, could we consider that God also wants to be loved and chosen? He cares deeply about relationship, focusing not on perfection but on our heart intentions (backed by tangible follow-through). Think about it. Could there be anything more disappointing than someone proclaiming big words of love, with no action to back those claims? God has feelings too.
Remember, forsaking God only hampers YOU. Although God enjoys us, He does not need us. We are the ones who so desperately need Him, and this world is thirsty to see the goodness of God shining through us.
Believers! Let’s refrain from flourishing claims of loving God without living a life of expressed, tangible love.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
* A special thanks to my prophetic mentor Marisha Apodocca, for her brilliant and wise instruction and a big hug to April Santos for lending her mad editing skills!:)