Even a casual visit to a bookstore will impress a viewer with the many “how-to” or self-improvement books that are available today.
How to be happy, be healthy, be successful, be a good parent … and the list goes on.
But what are the “how-to’s” for an effective spiritual life? Are there daily practices that Christians should pursue? First and foremost, there needs to be an appreciative awareness of God’s amazing grace in our lives: grace that adopted us as sinners and made us members of the heavenly kingdom; grace that sustains and directs our daily steps; and the grace that will ultimately usher us to our eternal home.
Secondly, let me suggest these key words that also need to be a vital part of every believer’s daily experience: Praise—Prayer—Love A daily life of praise, thanksgiving, and the adoration of God. A daily life of prayer, fellowship, and a communion with God. A daily life of love, a delight in the personal assurance of God’s love and a desire to share His love with others. Two basic resource books are available to help us in this spiritual well-being: the Bible, and the church hymnal.
Regular study of the Bible, God’s infallible rule of faith and practice, is an absolute essential for Christian living. Nothing ever replaces our daily need for His trustworthy Word.
Through the ages, however, devout believers from every Christian community have responded to God and His inspired revelation with their own expressions. The church hymnal, a most important heritage of the Christian church, is one of the finest collections of man’s thoughts and feelings about God. When these choice responses are further enhanced with appropriate melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, there exists a reservoir of unusual spiritual strength and encouragement. Spend time each day with the two resource books now blended together into these daily devotionals.
Allow God to speak directly to you through the Scriptures. Also, consider thoughtfully how other sincere believers have related to God with their “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Then respond to Him with your own expressions of praise,prayer, and love. Carry a musical truth with you throughout each day. Let the non-Christian world observe a living demonstration of a joyful faith. And as you do, you will become increasingly aware of God’s amazing grace and His power that enables you to live an effective and victorious Christian life. Perhaps these words, written more than two centuries ago, will begin to have new meaning for you:
Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Thru many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. —John Newton, 1725–1807
“I am in myself, incapable of standing a single hour without continual fresh supplies of strength and grace from the fountain-head.” —John Newton