We are looking at how to waste our time as believers in Jesus…
1> Allow yourself to be bitter against someone who has hurt or offended you
2> Use your time, your money, and your resources only for yourself and your needs
3> Spend little to no time with the Lord in solitude – just you and Him alone
4> Neglect reading the Scriptures (your Bible)
5> Defame others or misrepresent them or their work (especially fellow believers).
6> Rarely (or never) read books with spiritual depth or listen to Christ-centered messages by other servants of God.
Forget the contribution of the Body of Christ, past and present. Throw out spiritual education. Live under the delusion that all you need in the Holy Spirit and your Bible.
Many believers live this way and don’t take advantage of the large number of resources that are available today on-line and in print. Many Christians who are young are not readers. So, even to convince them to read the Bible is not easy. Many of the young men that I disciple and mentor readily admit that a book a year would be a miracle. I recommend a book a week.
There are so many amazing Christian writers – past and present – who have insights and understanding that could benefit the whole Body of Christ if those who follow Jesus would simply pick up the discipline of reading Christian literature. And, it is a disciple.
First, you need to decide to read what great Christian authors have written. Then you need to carve out time daily to read so that it becomes a habit. It can be 15 minutes, a half hour, or whatever you can release from your regular routines to invest in your growth as a believer. And then you need to journal or record the things that the Lord is showing you from the books that you are reading.
Recording what you are learning is really important as then you retain the lessons you have learned as well as being able, at a later date, to look back and examine the growth that has taken place both spiritually and mentally.
So, get started. Speak to a Christian leader or a friend who is a reader and see what they are reading and would recommend that you read.
A warning: 95%+ of the books being published currently in the field of Christian literature are simply not worth reading not the money it costs to purchase them. Choose writings with depth and substance and avoid the pop theology and Christian self-help books being published by the thousands every year.
Another way to waste your time and not grow as believers…
7> Have no fellowship or relationship with other believers. Live as a solo Christian.
Many use the excuse that they simply don’t have time to have meaningful fellowship with another believer or believers. Others are so self-contained and spiritual arrogant that they use the excuse that they can’t find any other Christians who are mature and who love Jesus like they do.
Every believer needs to have a number of others in their lives who are sharing their journey with Jesus with them.
First of all, every believer needs a mentor. This is someone who is more mature and knowledgeable in the faith with whom you can relate. Thy will share their experience and knowledge with you and help you to grow and mature, developing some of the weaker areas of your character and Christian walk. They might even ask you to travel with them – family holidays, fishing trips, ministry trips – opportunities to come to know them in the fullness of their personhood. So, like Timothy in the New Testament, you need to find a Paul (or two).
Secondly, every believer also needs a Timothy – someone you are relating to who is not as far along in their personal journey with Jesus as you are. This enables you to help them grow and mature. Like Paul had Silas and others. What’s in it for you? They will challenge your beliefs and test your character and cause you to grow in many ways.
Thirdly, every believer needs an accountability partner. This is someone you have grown to totally trust and can be 100% open, transparent, and honest with. They will come to know you better than any other person on the planet. And, they will ask you the hard questions and keep you honest with yourself. These questions could include some of the following.
1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?
2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?
3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?
4. Have you been honouring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?
5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
6. Have you given in to an addictive behaviour this week? Explain.
7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?
9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?
10. Have you been completely honest with me?