This post last updated on November 5th, 2021
For those who have been with me for a while, you know that I listen to you. And I appreciate your messages. One recent email conversation with a reader led to the question, “what does it mean to invite God into your daily life?”
That’s a question I have been asking myself for quite some time.
Because there are attitudes and behaviors standing in the way of my faith that don’t reflect Christ in me. And since we’re all dealing with that, I committed to write about it.
The Lazy Flesh
When I was a new believer, it seemed like I didn’t have to go far to experience God. He was the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind when falling asleep. My music habits were gradually replaced by sermons on the radio and Christian music in between. My earliest hunger was fed by devouring Scripture every day.
And then complacency began to settle in. You’ve probably experienced that, too. When life happens, it’s easy for the enemy or for your own flesh to creep in and erode the faith habits you might have in place. This is where the term “backsliding Christian” comes from and you have or will experience or witness it to some degree.
Of course, it’s easy to blame Satan for stuff like that, but more times than not, it’s your own lazy flesh at fault.
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.Matthew 26:40-41
Faith is a Verb
That’s right. Living a life of faith pulls you off of the sidelines and into the action. And when you’re in the action, staying on your feet isn’t likely to always happen, so remove that as an expectation. Remember, even those closest to Jesus failed.
I think about the disciples falling asleep as in that verse just above. Or when they were scared nearly to death that their boat was going to sink and had all but given up living through that storm. Or when Peter denied Jesus. Three times.
These guys that Jesus personally picked were not at all the superheroes we like to make them out to be. Their failures should give you hope because if you’re a follower of Christ, then he’s handpicked you as well.
But that means you need to invite God into your daily mess because you’re going to need him in the details. Especially the ones you want to keep in the secret places.
You do that by taking an active role in faithfully pursuing God. No, you don’t score extra salvation points with the Lord, but faith in action produces fruit. And that is what it means to follow Christ.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
Managing the Garbage in Life
First thing I want to point out is that their is no textbook, Sunday School answer on how to invite God into your daily life. The Christian life isn’t one that we can always say “if you do this, than that will happen.”
But you still put forth your best to live a fruitful, productive life that honors God.
The disclaimer here is that the everyday junk life tosses at you doesn’t go away just because you’ve drawn near to God. In some seasons, it actually gets worse. But when your focus is on Christ, the hope you’ll have certainly makes that garbage tolerable.
So with that…
How to Invite God Into Your Daily Life
It’s true that a well timed waving of a white flag in war might save countless lives, but that would still be counted in the history books as a military defeat. Life in Christ is probably the only place you’ll experience victory through surrender. But what does that look like?
Simply put, surrendering to Christ means letting go.
And man, is that difficult!
When things seem like they’re manageable and going well, it’s not so bad. In fact, this is when it’s easiest to either rejoice in your surrender to God, or to actually forget about the Lord altogether.
But when your waiting for the test results from that medical procedure, or your company has started making financial cuts that impact you, or your child is wandering in the deserts of life, that’s the stuff you have to let go of.
At some point, you’ll have to face the hard stuff that you want to control but can’t. The only way to victory is surrendering it to God. Believe me, I know how overwhelming it is. Those 3 scenarios I just mentioned? I didn’t make them up for some inspirational illustration. You will find that daily surrender is a critical part of the Christian life. Frequently, that needs to happen multiple times every day.
At some point, you’ll have to face the hard stuff that you want to control but can’t. The only way to victory is surrendering it to God.
2. Your Bible
Hoping to not sound overly predictable, you’ve just got to spend quality time in your Bible in order to invite God into your daily life. Why is that?
Now there’s a good question.
God is a very personal God. He cares about the details of your life more than anyone you know, even the details that you don’t even know about. And when you move near to God, he moves near to you. You’ll find him in his word, and it’s so much more than turning pages. Scripture is where you learn how to engage God, and how to live in a broken, messy world.
These days, there are boatloads of Bible tools available. We have more Biblical resources at our fingertips than entire seminaries had just a few generations ago. And many of them are free. For example, there are plenty of Bible apps to use on just about any device you have, which is great when you’re on the go. A good number of them come with great resources and add-ons which you might find helpful for serious, in-depth study.
One website I like and use quite a lot is BibleGateway.com because it’s has a solid team of contributors and is a well constructed site with tons of very usable features. They’ve been around since 1993. Seriously…1993! It’s safe to say they won’t be going away any time soon. Plus, they have apps.
However, nothing replaces the intimacy of holding the Bible in your hands and turning real pages. There are so many excellent Bibles available with so many unique features, you are sure to find something that fits you well. Do you want to embrace your inner Indiana Jones? The ESV Archaeological Study Bible can help with that!
For more help on how to study the Bible, check out my Foundations post, or this series of Bible reading posts. And if you’d like to take a look at a newly revised resource on understanding the Bible, here’s a review of Max Anders’ 30 Days to Understanding the Bible.
3. Fixing Your Mind
In order to really invite God into your daily life, you’re going to have to become familiar with some spiritual disciplines.
These are not things that will earn you favor with God, or score you some special level of salvation. However, your daily walk with the Lord will be blessed in amazing ways.
Reading your Bible is one such discipline that we’ve already covered. Having God’s word in your mind is the foundation to several other disciplines in your faith.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:2
Colossians 3:1-17 is often taught as developing “a heavenly mindset.” That’s because when you fix your thinking on eternal things, the worldly troubles that pick at you every day grow dim. Oh, they don’t go away, but through the lens of eternity, life’s difficulties are exceptionally weak in comparison.
Great. Now how do I do that?
Prayer is absolutely critical. This is your lifeline to the God of the universe. Think about that for a moment. It’s enormous.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
If praying in all circumstances throughout your day is a spiritual discipline, then always rejoicing and giving thanks in all situations is going to take some spiritual muscle!
Just like real muscles, spiritual disciplines are only strengthened through proper exercise, nutrition, and use. Begin and finish every day with prayer and thanksgiving. Start to look for the little things throughout your day that you can simply shoot a quick prayer to the Lord over.
Like when that truly irritating person frustrates you at work. “Lord, please give me a loving heart towards those who frustrate and annoy me.” Or when you hear a siren screaming in the distance, pray for whatever situation may be happening. God knows the needs in that emergency.
Prayer is absolutely critical: it’s your lifeline to the God of the universe. Think about that for a moment. It’s enormous.
Calling upon God in quick prayers throughout your day is one way that your mind becomes fixed on “things that are above.” And your joy, along with your faith and your “spiritual muscles” begin to increase.
Your Daily Life
Inviting God into your daily life sounds easy, and it can be, but it’s not simple. The hard part is getting past your lazy flesh and implementing some disciplines that will strengthen you in ways you may not yet imagine.
You’ll have to be consistent and stubborn, not giving up. You will also have to be forgiving, not beating yourself up when things don’t go as planned. Because they won’t. And you’ll have to rejoice in the small, victories as you walk closer with the Lord. There’s no better time for that than right now.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.Hebrews 11:6