May 15 – Intentional Faith Development with Donna Baker

Scripture: 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

I still remember as a teenager believing that I was a true Christian. During worship, as the pastor preached on the 10 Commandments, I opened my Bible to Exodus 20 and, in my brain, ‘checked off’ each commandment. If I am not guilty of breaking any of these commandments, then I am a good Christian, right? Looking back on that day, I can now understand that this was my first ‘baby step’ in my Christian journey. But fast forward twenty-six years when the three-day spiritual retreat, Walk to Emmaus, totally changed my comprehension! Finally, I got it!!! Being a Christian signifies a relationship with Christ. A true friendship. A deep and meaningful bond with Jesus.

But then how does that relationship deepen? With our special friends, how do we become closer? We dig deeper! We ask each other about our family, our childhood years, the struggles, challenges, and victories in our lives. As we learn more about each other through listening, we begin to trust each other, confide with one another, and begin to cherish our relationship. Jesus calls us to use the very same practices to become closer to Him. And in Christian small groups, this also enhances our faith because of the witnesses we share with others.

Recently, I enrolled in a class lead by Pastor Kris Schonewolf called “Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”. That’s exactly what I needed! Although I had studied the Bible and worked daily devotionals into my morning routine, I wanted more. I wanted to hear God’s voice more often. Over the years, especially through difficult times, God had clearly spoken to me. But I wanted conversations with my Lord so that I would come to know Jesus even more. The book provides clearly defined steps toward that goal through two-way journaling, meditating, and prayer. I’ll share some of my recent profound experiences in the accompanying video.

Growing in our faith requires intentional, planned, and disciplined practices, which include prayer, meditation, Bible study, small group discussions, and even devotionals shared as couples.  More importantly, God uses these practices to help me to grow in my relationship with Jesus, moving me beyond a “10 Commandment” devotee, to a true follower of Christ. And I am so grateful for Christ’s intervention in my life.

Discussion / Reflection Questions:

  1. How could you take a new step to deepen your spiritual life?
  2. Reflect on the experiences of your life when you have felt the presence of the Lord.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I cherish you. I need you even more fully in my life. Please guide me through those steps, these practices, and concepts so that I can hear your voice, sense your presence, and develop a stronger relationship with you.

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