Updated: Apr 16, 2018
It was early Monday morning back in May of 1994. It was my first day on the job as Youth Minister. I was only twenty years old, and for the very first time in my life, I was going “to the office.” I was excited to get started and showed up very early on that first day. I went to my tiny office, which was a converted storage closet. There was a desk (which took up half the “office”), an empty bookshelf and a phone. I would quickly discover that our secretary could buzz my phone to let me know I had a call, but she could not transfer the call to my phone. I would have to get up and walk down the hall to answer any phone calls.
None of those inconveniences mattered to me. I was so excited to be working and getting a start in ministry that I could hardly wait to get going. So, I walked in my office on that first day, sat down in my wobbly chair behind my desk and was ready to go. Then came my first dilemma: what am I supposed to do now?
I was motivated, and I was ready, I just did not know how to get started. Perhaps you can identify. I wonder if you can identify with that sentiment in spiritual matters. As a pastor, I often visit with people who sincerely want to grow in their relationship with the Lord. They really want to have more peace, a deeper faith, a more God-centered family and true joy in their heart. Most Christians I encounter wish to know more about the Bible, desire to have a more productive prayer life and would like to experience the intimacy of walking closely with the Lord.
And yet, here we are, motivated and ready, just not sure what to do to get started. Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”
“To do justly”
If you want to get started in building your walk with God, start by doing what is right. Make the decision today to tell the truth, obey the rules and treat people fairly. Your heart will not feel at peace if you sit down to read your Bible and then spend the rest of your day not treating people as you should. When you don’t know where to begin or how to get started, just focus on doing the right things.
“To love mercy”
The Bible tells us that we are to become holy as God is holy. The idea behind that admonition is that we are to reflect the One we worship. The character of God should become more and more true of us. Be merciful as your God is merciful. If you are looking for a way to “jumpstart” your walk with the Lord, try showing mercy to as many people as possible. Instead of responding in anger, be forgiving. Rather than losing your temper the next time something does not go your way, choose instead to be patient and understanding. To offer mercy to others is not easy, but when we do, we are taking steps that lead us closer to the heart of God.
“Walk humbly with your God”
If you wanted to go on a walk with a friend, what is the first thing you would do? You would set up a time to meet. Why don’t you try that? Set a time tomorrow that you will meet with God as you begin to walk with Him. Write the time down on your calendar or put it in your P.D.A. or somewhere that will guarantee that time is protected.
Once you met your friend to go for a walk, what would you do while you were walking? You would enjoy conversation. Why don’t you try that with the Lord? Once you set your appointment to meet with the Lord, just enjoy conversing with the Maker of the Universe. You communicate with God through Bible study and prayer. Let Him speak to you by reading His Word every single day and then speak to Him through prayer. Start reading in the gospel of John and read a chapter or two a day. Maybe you would want to pick a key word like “patience” and get a Bible concordance that shows you every time that word is used in the Bible. You can systematically begin looking up those verses and learn what the Bible says about patience. Whatever you choose to do, just get started and get walking with the Lord!
By the way, you know how I spent my first day in the office back in May of 1994? Since I had no idea what to do, I opened my Bible, and I read the book of James. After I finished, I still wasn’t sure what to do as a Youth Minister, so I read James again. After the second reading, I still had no meetings scheduled, no appointments to keep and no one to tell me what to do, and so, yes, I read it again. I probably read James ten times in its entirety that first day. I didn’t get much done, but I learned a valuable lesson: when in doubt, spend time in the Word!