Deeper.

“In 2017, I just want to go deeper with God!” I excitedly told my friend sitting across the booth from me. “Every year,” I explained, “I try to choose a word or phrase to set as my focus for the year. One year it was ‘moving forward,’ and another year it was, ‘Go.’ So this year, I’m going to make 2017’s word deeper.”

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I alluded to the deeper theme in my last post. But I didn’t really go into too much depth about it or where the concept came from. It was one of those late-night, after church hang outs where her and I just talked about anything and everything. But somewhere in the midst of eating our tacos, our conversation became more personal and, well, deeper.

We began to open up and share our personal stories and testimonies of what God’s done in our lives. Before we knew it, we were talking about prayer, fasting, and spiritual warfare — sharing stories of things we’ve witnessed and things we’ve heard God do. Needless to say, the conversation left me feeling encouraged and refreshed in the Lord. I walked away that night with a determination more than ever to go deeper in Him.

Now not everyone likes talking about spiritual warfare. Truth is, when I was younger I thought it was a spooky subject. I mean, everyone loves talking about angels… But demons? We try to forget about those. Before you get any ideas, I’m going to set something straight… I am not a “demon chaser.” I do not go out looking to pick a fight with the enemy. But if one believes there is a Heavenly Kingdom, you best believe that there is a kingdom of darkness. It is our duty to equip ourselves to fight against that which comes against our homes. But that’s a post for another time.

As 2016 came to a close, I realized that even though it was a fun year… it was lacking something. If there’s one thing that keeps going through my mind through this whole concept of going deeper, it’s that I need to submit myself to God more than I ever have before. I need to be sensitive to His spirit and calling on my life. How do we become sensitive to His spirit? By prayer, fasting, reading the Bible, living a lifestyle of worship, and seeking Him in everything we do.

The more I reflected on 2016, the more I realized that it was my relationship with God that seemed to be lacking. Yes, I’ve been blessed (more than I deserve). Yes, He’s answered quite a few of my prayers. Yes, He was moving on my heart and using me. But my relationship with God was only touching the surface of what it should’ve been. I needed to go deeper

Deeper in prayer… One thing that 2016 did teach me is that I hadn’t been praying enough. But God used some struggles last year to bring me to my knees. In these moments, I realized that without Him, I couldn’t do anything. Literally. Prayer became a priority when I was suffering from anxiety… It was all I knew. And it worked. But when I’d go a few weeks without an episode, it’d slowly get placed on the back burner.

This year, my desire is to pray more. And not just one of those 20 minute prayers, but the kind of prayer where I go before the throne of God and intercede. To pray without ceasing. To pray until I hear from the heart of God. To pray for others more. To pray His word over my life and the people around me. When we go before the Lord and pray, something shifts in the atmosphere. God turns His ears to us and listens.

Deeper in fasting… Fasting is not exactly the most fun thing to do. But it’s necessary and it’s humbling. Fasting gets us to a place where our flesh is silenced so that our spirit can hear God’s voice. Whenever people in the Bible were faced with a trial or big decision, they went before the Lord in prayer and in fasting.

Truth be told, I haven’t fasted much in my lifetime. And to be honest, some of the times I have fasted probably shouldn’t even count. Y’all, lemme tell you there’s a difference between a fast and a diet (another blog post for another time). To fast is to abstain from food and fleshly desires. It’s to get our human nature under subjection to the Spirit. To remove all distractions. To fast is a sacrifice. Without making this post too long, I’ll just go ahead and make it plain. If you’re not hungry (physically and spiritually), you’re not fasting. If it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, your flesh has not been silenced. It’s been satisfied. Unfortunately, I cannot say for sure that I ever got to that point in 2016. But this year, I desire more of His spirit living in me.

Deeper in God’s word… I’m not sure why but, for whatever reason, this has been a struggle for me. I’d always end up reading my Bible for a few days in a row and then putting it down for a few weeks before I picked it back up. Or I’d read it consistently everyday for long periods of time, but then it would tend to feel like a duty — not something that came from the heart.

I read a book recently called Women in the Word, and it really shaped my perspective on my time in God’s word. The author outlined some ways in which we can study the word and not just read it, but read it to understand and apply it to our lives. And this year, I’m looking forward to using the tools in that book. My goal this year is not how much of the Bible I can read, but how much of it I personally apply to my life.

Deeper in worship… Believe it or not, everything you do in your day to day life involves worship. Surprised? We should always strive to give God glory in everything we do. When we’re not living for God, we are living for the world. Our heart’s desire should be to let everything we do bring Him glory. For it’s not about my gifts, my talents, or my plans…  it’s all about Him.

This year, I desire to let my life be one of worship and adoration to Him. Not out of duty or expectation, but simply because He is worthy of it. Every decision I make, every step I take, I long for it to bring glory and honor to Him.

Last, but certainly not least, I desire to seek God more than I ever have before. I want to seek Him with my whole heart in every area of my life — in my finances, in my job, in where I live, in what I do, and in my relationships. Every morning when I wake up, I want to seek His face by applying the things I’ve mentioned above. I know it won’t be easy, and I know that there will be days when I don’t feel like it… but He is worthy of it.

In the weeks ahead, I intend to go into more depth on each of the topics listed above, and more. And as we explore going deeper with Him, feel free to leave comments and any questions you may have. I will answer them in those future posts, and possibly some livestreams.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

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