How to Hear God’s Voice – YWAM Asheville

How to Hear God’s Voice

Introduction

The Creator of the universe speaks to us! He chooses to communicate with His creation. What an amazing concept. And yet, how many of us frequently hear God’s voice? We hear about God being “personal” and “relational”. But how can that be true for us individually if we do not participate in communication with Him?

9 different ways to hear God’s voice 

There is no limit to the ways the Lord might choose to speak. He is infinitely creative and will use whatever He needs to convey His heart to us. He knows what we will notice, understand, and be captivated by. He knows the “language” we can comprehend best. This means that the way He speaks to you might be completely different from the way He speaks to me. 

I am going to share 9 ways that I personally hear God’s voice. Remember, there is no limit to the ways He communicates because there is no limit to Him! 

Scripture

Whether I am reading the Bible as part of a structured plan or devotional, during a lecture or sermon, or the Holy Spirit brings a unique verse to mind, Scripture is one of the top ways God speaks to me. Having a growing understanding and hunger for the Word of God will help you hear and discern God’s voice on a regular basis. 

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

Peace

When I need to make a decision or do something difficult, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me peace as a guide. There is a distinct stillness and calm surrounding the action He is leading me to take. When there is a sense of confusion or unrest, I know that it is not the right choice, or time. 

Metaphors 

This may sound strange, but cleaning is spiritual to me. It’s true! As I clean the corners of my bathroom floor, the Lord reminds me of how thoroughly He washed me with His blood. As I care for my children, He tells me how He cares for me as a parent. As I prune my plants, He speaks about areas He is refining in my heart. The Bible is full of metaphors, figures of speech, and parables…figurative and creative images/verbiage that is communicating the heart of God.

Dreams

When I wake up from a dream that was a little more potent, colorful, or distinct than usual, I ask the Lord if it is Him speaking to me. I invite Him to interpret the dream, to expound on it, to bring clarity. Sometimes the Lord will give me a prophetic warning, guidance, or perspective through some really bizarre dreams. Not every dream is from Jesus. Hear me on that. But the ones that are from Him are amazing. 

Others

Here at YWAM Asheville, we operate as a discipleship community. This means that we live in a position of openness to the voice of God coming through each other. We practice regular times of praying for each other, blessing one another, and interceding on each other’s behalf. Sometimes the voice of God comes to me in the most perfect way through another person. Your spouse, friend, mentor, or a complete stranger…doesn’t matter, God can use them!

Creation 

How can you look at a roaring waterfall and not feel swept up into the uniqueness of the Creator? The majesty of the ocean, or a gentle breeze through autumn leaves. I remember, as a little girl, laying in the backyard looking at a piece of grass in my hands. I let my eyes focus on the tiny little vertical lines, and then looked up to the clouds…I could see the moon behind them. Such minute detail and simultaneously such expansive grandeur. This moment as a child convinced me of intelligent design. Nature reflects some aspect of who God is, and so meditating on it can lead me into a conversation with Him about who He is and what He’s like. 

Worship 

Times of worshipping God through music frequently become a time for God to pour truths over me. Almost every time I become stressed about something, or have allowed worry to enter my heart, the Lord will place me in a situation where I am listening to a song about His provision or sovereignty. He knows exactly what my heart needs to be reminded of. 

Emotion 

Sometimes the emotions we experience are intentionally meant to lead us on a treasure hunt with the Holy Spirit. Jesus will use my sensitivity to emotion as an invitation to follow a trail in my heart or in a certain situation. If I’m feeling anxious or jumpy, I should stop and ask the Lord to show me where that is coming from. Perhaps He will uncover an area of idolatry in my heart. If I am feeling abundantly heavy and burdened, maybe He will show me an injustice that He wants me to pray over. If I feel overflowing joy, He may say to me, “this is how you make me feel, Beloved.” 

Still Small Voice 

This is different for everyone. In my life, the still small voice of God is rarely audible. Rather it is a divine highlighting. He will whisper a word or name into my heart. He will place an image in my mind’s eye. He will draw my attention to something I hadn’t seen before. It’s like being with a dear friend that you know so well you don’t need words to communicate. Where He looks, I look also.

Final Takeaway

Now, you may think that all of these ways to hear God’s voice are simply your own thoughts. I would challenge you to ask yourself this question: who made my mind? Who knows me better than I know myself?

Answer: God.

Perhaps you simply can’t discern the difference between His voice and your own. As you press into the practice of hearing God’s voice, you will soon become familiar with the sounds of His communication to you in contrast to the sound of your own mind. He wants to speak. Let Him. 

YWAM is committed to teaching every missionary that comes to a Discipleship Training School (DTS) to hear the voice of God. It is a foundational value to who we are as an organization. If you yearn to hear God’s voice but aren’t sure where to start, consider joining our next YWAM DTS. Or if you have already done a DTS, sign up for a YWAM secondary school to continue to grow in this area. The Foundational Leadership Course at YWAM Asheville will give you further training on following the leadership of God’s voice and give you the tools to teach others to do the same.

Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: Know the Difference – YWAM Asheville

Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: Know the Difference 

Introduction:

According to the dictionary, justice is, “behaving according to what is morally right and fair” or “just behaviour or treatment.” Justice is inseparable from morality. As a Jesus follower, I base my decisions that are moral on what I see in the scriptures. I look for how justice and morality are displayed by Jesus. I’ve chosen to view God as the ultimate moral creator and giver. Who else should we look to for guidance in this area? When I allow the gospel to determine my understanding of justice, my definition of it changes. 

 

What is social justice?

The United Nations defines social justice as “the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.” The National Association of Social Workers states that “social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.”  

Culturally and generationally, we correlate the term social justice with economic opportunity, access to resources, and equity in treatment. These are not “bad” things whatsoever. In fact they can reflect very Biblical values. 

But Christians cannot allow their understanding of justice to be rooted in society’s definitions. Our foundation and compass when approaching the topic of justice must begin with the heart and Word of God. 

We live in a society where everyone makes their own decisions on what justice is and all that it entails. Hot topics and controversy tend to lead these conversations, and we have a tendency to let “justice” become an excuse to point fingers at each other. Each culture and generation define social justice in their own way, forever adjusting implications and expectations. Social justice, especially in the age of social media, can elevate someone who has experienced an injustice to a hero status, glorifying victim identity. Do victims deserve recognition, healing, space, and platform? Absolutely. We must listen to those who have been wronged in order to make changes. However, there is a pattern of idolizing victims, which enables a cycle of pointing out injustices without providing solutions to root causes. This is exacerbated by the speed of every news cycle, and noise made on social media…Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok are platforms that offer very limited understanding of the extensive context of each issue. Context that is desperately needed to accomplish sustainable change.

God recognizes that each individual requires different amounts and types of resources, assistance, and tools. His mercy and goodness to us are as unique as we are. Today’s version of social justice tends to make blanket statements and sweeping judgements. One size does not fit all when it comes to true justice. Biblical justice holds space for every circumstance to be unique and complex.

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

Isaiah 1:17

What is Biblical justice?

I would like to come at this from an angle like someone who is in full-time Christian ministry at YWAM Asheville, fighting human trafficking on a global scale. It can be very easy to be pulled into the emotions of things that I see in moments of cruelty, trauma, and even restoration. A sense of anger can arise when I hear first-hand accounts of neglect and severe abuse.

In these moments, I am given the opportunity to let Jesus expand my understanding of what justice is. He invites me to move forward with the intentional response, rather than the compulsive reaction. 

Fighting injustice with intentional response might look like this: 

-compassion 

-listening 

-generosity and care 

-walking committedly alongside the individual 

-and together pursuing a place of wholeness and wellness. 

It can also mean making sure that perpetrators, if possible, are held accountable for their actions. Biblical justice does include standing against evil in all forms. But it doesn’t stop there. 

Often we feel that justice has been served in completion when the perpetrator is in jail…or a sum of money has been paid, or something stolen has been restored. Rather than letting it end there, we should look to follow through in every situation with grace. Grace is not at odds with biblical justice. It is a paradox, but one we must embody as Christians. 

The Difference between Social and Biblical Justice

Biblical justice goes the extra mile, and then some. True justice walks in forgiveness towards the perpetrator, tries to break the mold of generational abuse, and brings reconciliation. Social justice often falls short by treating a symptom, whereas Biblical justice seeks to treat the root cause; the heart. 

Many perpetrators of injustice behave as they do because they are themselves victims of injustice. Yet society expects them to be an upstanding citizen with morals and use common sense. This is a vicious cycle that won’t be stopped by simply having someone declared as “guilty” by a judge and serving their sentence. There is a deeper, heart-level cause that needs to be addressed for Biblical justice to prevail. 

Final Takeaway 

As a teenager, my family experienced devastating trauma and injustice. It wasn’t until many years later that I truly chose to walk in forgiveness, which allowed my heart to move forward in freedom in an indescribable way. The people who created the pain will likely never know that I have forgiven them…but if there were ever a time that I was to be face to face with them, I know how I plan to respond. It’s shown me that healing can be possible at every level, and God has used this event to carve love and compassion for offenders in my heart. 

Are you quick to write off those who have inflicted pain? Or would you be willing to spend your time with the “sinners” of society, those who cause pain? When Jesus came, he came for the lost, the brokenhearted, the perpetrator. 

I pray that believers living in 2021 learn to focus on grace going hand in hand with justice. Our society has often decided that they don’t belong together. But that is who Jesus is. Mercy and truth. Grace and justice. Lion and lamb. 

YWAM values training every student who comes to a Discipleship Training School about the true meaning of justice. Everyone who does a DTS at YWAM Asheville will receive teaching on justice, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion…and have the chance to demonstrate the beauty of Biblical Justice to the world around them. If you’re ready to take your understanding of justice to the next level, join us for the next DTS! Apply in just minutes for free.

 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” 

Micah 6:8

What is the Holy Spirit and Why Does it Matter? – YWAM Asheville

What is the Holy Spirit and Why Does it Matter?

Introduction: 

Understanding what the Holy Spirit is and why it matters can be a tricky thing to contemplate, especially as a new believer or someone wanting to step into the mission field. When I came to my YWAM Discipleship Training School, I arrived with a lot of questions and confusion. One of the things I’ve always wanted to understand more is the Holy Spirit. Being at DTS brought me so much clarity through doctrine and through many experiences. Being in a community like YWAM Asheville has opened so many doors to help better understand and walk alongside the Holy Spirit. Learning more about the Holy Spirit has helped me to understand my worth, potential and calling for what God has planned. 

What is the Holy Spirit? 

The Holy Spirit has been mentioned since page one of the Bible. Genesis 1:2 describes the Holy Spirit as ‘the Spirit of God’ hovering over the surface of the waters. Many people think of the Holy Spirit as a spiritual force of nature of some sort, typically viewed as something similar to the wind. This mindset is influenced by the Holy Spirit’s works rather than what the Holy Spirit actually is, a person of the trinity. The Holy Spirit is a “who” not a “what”. 

The Bible clearly addresses the Holy Spirit as a person. In John 14 when Jesus told His disciples about the Holy Spirit, He said “I will ask the Father and He will send an Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” 

We can see that the Holy Spirit isn’t just a person, but an advocate for Jesus Christ and a leader, or a guide, towards truth. 

The Holy Spirit is one of three parts of the trinity, the Father (God), Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Though He is His own person, He is also one with the Father and the Son. They work together in perfect unity. The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit on earth, dwelling within His people. Through Him, we are able to receive insight from God, direction, and understanding. 

What does the Holy Spirit do?

The same Holy Spirit that lives in Jesus now lives in His people. God’s spirit provides authority, power, peace, wisdom, joy, the ability to forgive, resurrection, and more. His toolbox is eternally diverse, and the role He plays in the Christian life is limitless. 

In Romans 8:11 it says “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this

same Spirit living within you.” The Holy Spirit resurrects our bodies that were once dead to sin. When we die spiritually, He’s the one who brings us back to life. But He doesn’t just wake us up, He stays with us. 

The Holy Spirit is our comforter, teacher and friend. He gives us the strength to heal, whether that’s from trauma physically, mentally or spiritually. He empathizes with us, but He also gives us the wisdom to be able to live a holy life by convicting us when we are headed towards sin. He helps us to best understand God’s character and never does anything that is in contrast to the character of God. 

Understanding the Holy Spirit: 

The Holy Spirit is simply the hands of God. He is here to help us navigate and live a holy, Godly life. His job is to do what it takes to bring glory to God and the best way to do that is through His children. The Holy Spirit is a person who moves through power and force but is not a thing, power or force. He is not an aspect of our own conscience who whispers in our ear telling us what is right and what is wrong. He is God within us. Working through us. Our counsellor and an advocate. 

Why does the Holy Spirit matter? 

Christians are meant to reflect Christ. Without the Holy Spirit, that’s just plain impossible. We are empowered to be like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said that it was better that He left so that the Holy Spirit could come. Jesus, God in human form, could not be everywhere at once, nor could His spirit dwell within us while on earth. The spirit of God dwelling in every believer at all times makes demonstrating the beauty of the gospel possible. It is Trinity’s genius solution to our sin habit. Jesus with all of us, within us, always. 

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

Final Takeaway:

Like I said before, I have been on a journey of learning and experiencing the Holy Spirit that I never would have dreamed possible. The Discipleship Training School curriculum offers incredible teaching on the Trinity, the person of the Holy Spirit, and opportunities to experience relationships with God in new ways. DTS students practice hearing God’s voice through the HOly Spirit, follow His leading during ministry and evangelism, and depend upon Him while learning. Doing a DTS is one of the best ways I can think of to get a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit and why He matters. I am so excited to staff the next DTS and would love to invite you to join us! You can apply in just 3 minutes, and it will seriously change your life.

Lily Faulkner

Lily Faulkner

Author

2021 DTS Graduate

Managing Stress as a Christian – YWAM Asheville

 Managing Stress as a Christian 

The lives we lead today are fuller and faster than we’d like. Margin and rest are myths, and the concept of Sabbath is foreign to most. Can a modern believer manage, or even overcome, the inevitable result of such a busy lifestyle? Let’s take a deeper look at what it means to manage stress as a Christian. 

Causes of Stress 

Stress is the body and mind’s response to challenge, demand, or change. Everyone’s stress response looks different, and everyone gets stressed by different things. We most likely relate the word stress to negative things, like too much on the to-do list or not enough income…but we can get stressed by positive events also..a job promotion, new baby, house renovations…all of these things are “good” but are, indeed, stressors. The causes of stress are as unique as the person experiencing it, but the ways it affects our bodies are similar. When we are stressed, we typically experience elevated heart rate, blood pressure, racing thoughts, a shift in emotion, changed thoughts and beliefs, and sometimes even pain. 

Stress and Spirituality 

So, as a believer, what does stress mean to you? Does it mean that Christ isn’t enough, or that you aren’t really saved? Of course not. But because stress is a phenomenon that affects our entire person (mind, body, spirit), there must be a portion of it that is spiritual. Christianity is often misunderstood as a “fix it” religion…a fluffy, happy face, crutch that teaches that everything should be ok because “God is good”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus came not to fix the challenges of life, but to offer us life in abundance in the midst of it. 

God is not necessarily interested in removing difficulty from your life. He is, however, interested in making you like Jesus. The life of Christ was anything but stress-free. And yet, He is the one who offers us His easy-yoke and light burden. 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 

Stress is part of life. And so just like every other part of life, Christians must respond to it in a way that is different from the world. Therefore, rather than letting stress become a peace theft, let us believers work towards treating stress as an opportunity to elevate Jesus.

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

8 Effective Techniques for Managing Stress

 

1. Fuel Your Physical 

What are you putting in your body? I’m not asking you to go on a diet, I’m suggesting you take a look at how you are hindering yourself. Listen to your body! The spirit is NOT this totally separate thing, floating above your body, detached from what you’re feeling physically. If you are addicted to sugar/alcohol/caffeine, it will affect sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it will prevent you from spending time in 

prayer/relationship/ministry/etc…That is only one example, but the point is that it’s all connected! Take care of your body so that when you are stressed, your physical health isn’t an added hindrance. 

2. Priorities and Perspective 

When our priorities and perspective are not in line with God’s, we are bound for trouble. What are you placing on the top shelf of your life? What do you give your most energy and attention to? How do you view the world? Take time to adjust these things so that you are walking in agreement with the Holy Spirit. For me, sometimes this is all it takes. A simple fix of perspective will change so much! In a YWAM Discipleship Training School, students are given life changing teaching on how to adjust their worldview and perspective to align with Biblical realities. It is nothing short of transformational! Ask God to reveal idolatry, unhealthy priorities, and areas where your perspective is broken.

3. Survey and Edit 

What are you watching, listening to, reading? What are you gazing upon? After the last 2 years, it’s become very obvious to me that when I am giving a bunch of my time and thoughts to the news and headlines, I will get stressed out by it. When I watch movies or shows that have explicit material, it will mess with my thought life. It’s not being ignorant or prude to say “no” to things that don’t lead you to life. It’s wisdom. So survey what you are allowing in your life, and edit out the things (sinful or not) that are just simply not serving your spirit fresh water. As you read this, you probably already know what those things are. 

4. Get in the Word 

As you edit things out of your life, you must replace them with Truth. The Word of God is not an optional, good idea in the life of the Christian. There’s just something about being in the Bible that enables us to handle the stresses of life better. It’s one of the Holy Spirit’s ways to speak to you and when you neglect it, you limit your own toolbox. Note; if you are in need of professional counseling or therapy, please seek those out. Don’t use Scripture as an excuse to avoid those things. YWAM schools are an excellent place to get a foundational understanding of scripture if you aren’t sure where to begin.

5. Serve

God designed our hearts to come alive when we are outside of ourselves. Somehow the troubles I am facing get so much smaller when I am focusing on helping someone else. True service to others is a quick way to get your spirit back on track. If you’re not sure where to start, look up a local homeless or women’s shelter, soup kitchen, or food pantry. Or ask your pastor about ways your church needs volunteer help. 

6. Create 

This isn’t just for artists. Getting your hands on some soil, bread dough, or a pen can be a wonderful way to alleviate long-term and chronic stress. Allow yourself to put your never ending tasks on pause, and create. Make dinner from scratch, pluck a new chord progression on your guitar, write a Haiku. This is another way to use the physical to impact the mental and spiritual.

7. Sabbath 

I can’t prove this, but I have a feeling the rising stress/depression/anxiety diagnoses we are seeing is due to the decline of people setting aside 24 hours a week for rest and play. The Lord was so kind and wise in setting this pattern and precedent for us, and we do ourselves a massive favor when we obey and abide by it. I have a more productive work week, better sleep, and lighter moods when I have been intentional with my Sabbath.

 

“You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.”

― N.T. Wright

8. Worship  

As we look upon our Savior and renew our understanding of Him through praise, the unique difficulties we face change. We receive revelation, comfort, guidance, peace, and joy. You were made to worship. If you aren’t pouring out your oil of praise at the feet of Jesus, you will be doing it elsewhere. But it is only when we worship God that we are edified beyond measure in return. 

Conclusion 

As mentioned before, stress is part of life. It is inescapable. Let this be the last day that you treat it as an injustice, and begin to view it as an opportunity. Overcoming stress as a believer must be approached through a God-centered worldview. Christians have access to the Spirit of God, and thus have an eternally expansive tool kit to approach any situation with. If you have questions about the Holy Spirit or the Christian life, we’d like to invite you to our next YWAM DTS. At YWAM Asheville, we are passionate about seeing Christians equipped to live in the abundance God has provided. Join us! The only YWAM DTS requirements are a highschool diploma and a heart ready to say YES to God.

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways 

Why is it important to spend time with God?

At the core of Christianity, we believe that we have been given unbridled access to a personal relationship with God.

However, making time for God is a gift that we often neglect. If we want to get the most out of any relationship, we have to be intentional about setting aside time specifically for those we are in a relationship with. This is a time for communication, a time for enjoying God’s presence, listening for His voice, and sharing your heart with Him. 

Whether you are a new believer or have been following Jesus for a while, you’ve likely wondered how to spend time with God most effectively. So let’s take a look at 6 simple steps to spend time with God.

6 Simple Steps to Spend Time With God 

1. Remove Distraction 

When creating devotional times, the removal of distractions is a must. It will take time for your mind to create new rhythms and patterns. Until then, your brain will continually try to pull you into the habits you are trying to break. 

You know yourself best. What will pull you away? Technology, tasks, interactions with other people? Be proactive in addressing potential distractions. 

Put your phone on silent, leave it in the other room, use a print Bible rather than an app if you are prone to be distracted by your phone, and even consider leaving it in a different room. Maybe you create this space best when you are in nature. Step out your front door, leave your phone at home, and talk with God as you walk. Wherever you are, though, you have the power to create a space that is Holy, set aside, protected for a purpose. 

Spend Time With God in 6 Simple Ways

2. Build A Routine 

If you aren’t intentionally building a routine, your time with God will be a one-time event. Building routine means foreseeing things that will derail your plans, dealing with them, drawing boundaries, and protecting them. You will need no say to things. Routine requires sacrifice. Science shows that it generally takes upwards of 66 days to create a new habit. It’s not easy. But it is worth your while. 

Typically, it’s easier to have a set quiet time each day (preferably morning in my case, when most people in my household are still sleeping or having their own quiet time with God.) 

There is something so powerful about starting your day with God-think about it, how many of us have a morning ritual? For me, outside of my time with God, the whole process of making coffee has become a morning ritual that I really enjoy. I intentionally prepare my coffee in a way that takes more time – largely because I like to be able to ‘fine-tune’ the way in which it tastes, but also as a form of creativity; becoming more intimately involved in the process. 

Ritual requires creativity and creative expression is ultimately God-breathed. If I can find so much Joy in a morning coffee routine, how much more joy can be found in connecting and communicating with my Creator? 

A highly valuable aspect of doing a YWAM DTS is the structured schedule that you are expected to live by during school. Spending intentional time with God is a normal part of a day in DTS, and it will give you the tools you need to make it a lifelong practice.

3. Prioritize Scripture 

Spending time with God does not require the Bible every time. However, if you don’t have a basic understanding of God’s word, it can limit your relationship with Him. There are endless lessons for every area of life, applicable wisdom, and fresh ways to hear God’s voice in the pages of Scripture. God’s written word is the basis for ALL KNOWLEDGE of God-Scripture is important. God has chosen to speak to the global church through the Bible for thousands of years. If you are neglecting it, you are choosing to operate in a much smaller scope of faith. If structure helps you, find a Bible reading plan and stick with it! If you are driven by social activities, you could join a Bible study. Whatever it takes, get into the pages of Scripture.

Listening for God’s Voice & Responding 

The voice of God can be a scary term to some people. But the truth is, God is always speaking. He is always extending His heart to His people. This isn’t limited to hearing an audible voice; God speaks our language. He will speak to us in the manner that will have the most impact on us. God uses limitless avenues to talk. Some hear Him most

clearly through artwork, others through studying science, and still others through fitness. He is a creative communicator! 

When we hear the heart of God, through whatever way He has spoken to speak, it becomes our privilege to respond. 

The ways we can respond to God are nearly as limitless as the ways He communicates. However, our response to God will typically include one of the following; 

Confession & Repentance: Recognizing and turning from actions or behaviors that damage us or others 

Forgiveness: Receiving the endless grace that God bestows upon His children when we turn to Him 

Petitions: Sharing our needs, worries, and desires with God 

Adoration & Worship: Reflecting back to God our love and enjoyment of Him Communion: Friendship with God, simply being with Him 

There is no one way to pray. Your prayers can be your unique creation, and you can join with the saints by reciting centuries-old prayers found in resources like the Common Book of Prayer or reciting passages of Scripture, declaring the Truth found there. More often than not, we have a tendency to overcomplicate prayer, treating it as some stale, uninspiring recital of big words. Prayer shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it should be one of the most natural activities of our faith. Talking with God doesn’t have to be an individual activity either. Ideally, we should prioritize having our own time with God, but throughout Christian history, prayer has been a beautiful communal and corporate activity. So, take time to speak to God one on one, but make time to join in prayer with other believers as well; you will be an encouragement for each other. 

The YWAM Discipleship Training School class curriculum includes teaching on hearing God’s voice, prayer and intercession, and Bible overview. If you would like to receive these tools, sign up for the next DTS! Applying only takes a few minutes, and it’s totally free.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

4. Consistency 

This may seem redundant after discussing making a routine. But the art of consistency communicates something beyond personal discipline – it communicates long-suffering devotion. When we make something a consistent, unshakable part of our life, we communicate (to ourselves, the world, and to God) that it matters deeply to us. And additionally, when we stick to something, even when things get mundane, painful, or even boring, we solidify in our spirit that we are in a relationship with God for more than surface-level gratification. Something I have learned in my relationship with God is that

long-term obedience, despite my enjoyment levels, always comes with great reward. Valuable things COST. So when you hit a rut, don’t let that be a reason to end your routine with God. Maybe you change a few aspects of your routine, add variety…but consistently spending time with God will always benefit you. So press in. Don’t quit. If you use journaling as a part of your time with God, you will be able to look back and see the worth of pushing through the hard times and the ways God was speaking through those seasons. 

5. Discipleship 

Invite other people into your journey. Welcoming the voice and perspective of others can encourage you in ways you might miss otherwise. Friends and mentors can offer insight into our blind areas and hold us accountable. Though not immediately obvious, spending time with other believers is a way to spend time with God. He dwells in each of us. So, within the body of believers, as we interact with one another, we allow the presence of the Holy Spirit in others to impact us. When we are struggling through a difficult life season, addressing a sin pattern, or wrestling with a question, God can (and often does) use other humans to lead us. 

6. Honesty & Humility 

All that has been laid out above will mean little if it is not rooted in deep honesty and humility. In our journey to build a meaningful relationship with God, our pride and self-protection must be silenced. When we approach Jesus, He already sees all that we are and all that is in our hearts. We fool, and even wound, ourselves when we put on masks or take on a performance mentality in His presence. We are less likely to see things from His perspective if we are clinging to our own, and it will be much more difficult to trust His leading. Make a practice of releasing your fears, insecurities, plans, and offenses as you come to God.

Final Takeaway 

In conclusion, it’s fair to say that making time for God is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Whenever you choose to pursue Jesus, you are choosing to pursue life. If you’re ready for a deeper walk with Jesus, consider joining us for the next Discipleship Training Course. You’ll never be the same.

Leaving Everything Behind For Jesus

YWAM

Leaving Everything Behind For Jesus

Introduction

“Leaving everything behind for Jesus” is a catchy and somewhat dramatic way to say something that is in fact very real. When someone chooses to follow Jesus, it is an eternal and weighty decision. There are repercussions, some seen and others unseen. At Youth With A Mission (YWAM), we regularly see the ripples that are directly linked to one’s determination to make Jesus Lord of their life. Students who go through our Discipleship Training School (DTS) are often met with the beautiful gravity of what they have said “yes” to when they accepted Jesus. The choice to surrender your life to God is a step of trust in response to the invitation of the Gospel. Like any invitation, however, when you say “yes” to one thing, you must say “no” to another. 

It Begins With An Invitation 

The Gospel is exactly that. An invitation. It is an immeasurably gracious and stunning invitation. The concept of “being saved” is often seen as outdated and archaic. Our modern minds don’t quickly perceive what we must be saved from, and thus Christianity seems like an unnecessary burden. The post-truth worldview allows the conscience to be numbed, which hushes the realities of right and wrong. Today’s culture is defined by voices that do not see truth as fixed or finite. Rather, truth is seen as flexible and customizable. And yet, in the midst of the chaotic spiritual mess of our world, God rests supreme with open arms, unthreatened by our man made belief systems. The Gospel is not just an invitation to be saved from something, it is also an invitation to something unspeakably better! A life of abundance. 

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It Requires Sacrifice 

As mentioned earlier, accepting one invitation means rejecting another. We cannot be at 2 parties at the same time. When you receive the gift of salvation, you are called into a life that looks different. Part of being a Christian means dying with Christ, so that you can live in Him. Leaving everything behind for Jesus, practically, means counting all that the world has to offer as nothing in comparison to what you gain in Christ. Being a Christian means choosing to see the world through God’s eyes, not your own. It means seeing morality, ethics, relationships, money, and life itself through the lens of Scripture. Choosing Jesus requires sacrificing your freedom to live as you want, and instead surrendering to a lifestyle of obedience to the voice of God. Part of the training we offer in YWAM is in response to this reality. DTS students at YWAM Asheville spend an entire week learning the importance of letting Jesus be the Lord of each area of their lives. We cannot be a people that claim allegiance to a King if we are not surrendered to Him in every way. 

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It Cultivates Trust

In the process of following Jesus, we begin to see His faithfulness unfold in our lives. We see that He honors our sacrifices, and provides for our needs in personal and unique ways. Christianity is a lifelong journey, daily confronted with the option to trust ourselves and the world instead of trusting God. Every time we choose to trust God, we are given peace that surpasses understanding by the Holy Spirit. The Christian who lives a life of dependence on God’s voice will experience supernatural things. It is inevitable. And as you begin to take step after step, in faith, trust in God is cultivated even deeper. He is faithful to those who trust Him. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10

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It is an Everyday Decision 

Each day we are met with new challenges, new excitements, new pains. As the years pass since we chose to leave everything behind for Jesus, the passion in our heart can grow cold. But the love that God has extended to us demonstrates commitment and long-suffering. God chooses us even in our darkest hour. He chooses us regardless of our unreservedness. Because He first loved us in this reckless and glorious way, we are called to live out that kind of love in response. Choosing Jesus isn’t easy. Choosing Jesus doesn’t always feel good. There are days, perhaps years, when choosing comfort, reason, or convenience is much more enticing. It is in this place that we must recall that it is God who can offer us life, TRUE LIFE. Maverick City says it well in their song Love Sick, “There’s no lovesick You won’t heal, and there’s no desperate You won’t fill….A heart that is desperate, only You satisfy it.”

The everyday choice of faith will lead you into a life of blessing, and a heart that is deeply satisfied in your Maker. At the end of your days, may you look back on your choice to follow Him and see that He was worthy of it all. 

If you are considering leaving everything behind for Jesus, we are here to tell you He is worth it! If you are ready to take your walk with Him to the next level, apply for the next DTS in just 3 minutes for free. He is a GOOD God and you are invited to spend 5 months focusing just on Him.