There is a science (gimmick) to writing headlines. I hope it worked. Did that headline hook you? It was the bait. Time for the switch.
10. Stop looking For Hot Tips
There is no secret to Christian growth. Paul actually despises any idea of some hidden, underhanded way of Christianity.
But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Cor. 4:2).
The gospel is an open statement of the truth: We need Jesus and Jesus gives us all that he is by faith in his person and work.
No more hot tips, only more of Jesus. “Tips must decrease, he must increase.” The Christian life isn’t that complicated.
9. Do What Christians Have Always Done
The old adage needs no improvement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
We are not the generation of Christ followers who’ve discovered the new tactic and technique for Calvary-patterned lives. We might be the generation that looks less and less crucified than our brothers and sisters before us. The blood-trodden path to Golgotha has no shortcuts. It’s a cross and our Christ.
Strive to be amazingly unoriginal and plain. The more creative, new, zippy, and fresh we try to be, the more our fog machine emissions hide the cross. We don’t need a new scheme, we need the old ways. We don’t need a new narrative—the old, old, story about a King who came from Glory is just fine.
8. Read The Bible
Duh. It’s not that shocking. You won’t grow without regular intake of the Bible (Matt. 4:4). It’s that pure milk that grows us up into our salvation (1 Pet. 2:2).
Read all of it. Read lots of it. Read it slowly. Ready it quickly. Soak in a paragraph. Speed read a whole book. Can’t fathom a one-year reading plan? Take two, three, four. I’d rather someone take 5 years to read through all of the Bible than to go through Bible burnout every March.
7. Memorize The Bible
Get it into your heart and mind. We desperately need our minds renewed (Romans 12:1–3). And I know for me, the more the Word of God is steamrolled onto the fibers of my brain, the more helped I am.
6. Believe and Obey The Bible
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
The point isn’t just knowledge, but also acted upon knowledge. Learn what the Bible says, and in the power of the risen Christ (Gal. 2:20), do what the Bible says. Believe it. Live it.
5. Pursue Holiness
Do more than not sin. The Christian life is more than avoiding naughty things, it’s also pursuing righteousness.
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19).
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22)
4. Pray In And For The Spirit
The Spirit of Jesus is our present power. He gives us understanding of the word, he empowers us for mission, he brings fruit, etc. So, yeah, pray for the filling and leading of the Spirit, by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Pray for big things. Pray for conversions. Pray for your church, your family. Pray, as it says, without ceasing. Don’t quit.
3. Commit To The Church
I’ve never met a mature Christian that wasn’t serious about their local church and the fellowship that comes with a body of believers. The Christians in Acts were crazy serious about being together. We can’t improve upon what they did (Acts 2:42). Sing with the church, hear the word with a church, take communion with a church. Enjoy Jesus with a local church—they are the ones who got your back (Heb. 3:12–14).
2. Be Evangelistic
You were called out of darkness and into marvelous light, to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus (1 Peter 2:9–10)—are you doing that? Why not?
The Holy Spirit is given to us so we can be witnesses of the risen Lord Jesus. The Spirit wants to do more in our hearts than enjoy Romans 9. He’s calling and equipping us for mission. What it might take is that faith in future grace that when you evangelize, the Spirit will give you the words to say and the boldness to stay.
1. Stay Centered On Jesus
Keep it about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus. Keep looking to him as the hope, center, and joy of all things. Read the Bible and the Universe Christologically.
We’ve been crucified with him; we don’t even live in anymore. All that we are and do is by faith in Jesus of Nazareth, who loves us wretched sinners and gave up his breath for us (Gal. 2:20). And apart from him we can’t do a thing (John 15:5).
Stay focued. Cross-eyed.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1–2).
Here at the church we’re not out to bring you to a church. We’re not out to bring you to a minister. We’re not out to bring you to a philosophy or a style or a kind of music or anything like that, though obviously there are a lot of things about Redeemer that might be distinctive to you. We’re out to bring you to Jesus. Everything is about him. The music is about him. The preaching is supposed to be about him. The church is supposed to be about him. It’s all about him.