Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Shelene Bryan’s new book Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014).
Is your life full of adventures that are drawing you closer to God? If not, that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t planned some incredible adventures for you; it simply means that you’ve been missing out on them so far. The way to start experiencing the exciting life God intends you to live is simply to say “yes” whenever you sense him leading you to put your faith into action.
Here’s how you can start saying “yes” to the adventures God has planned for you:
Learn how to listen to God. Move closer to God so you can start hearing his voice. Eliminate whatever is distracting you from making your relationship with God your top priority. For example, cut down on the amount of television you watch so you can free up more time to read and study the Bible, seeking to get to know God better in the process. Seek to tune into the messages that God is broadcasting in your direction. Whenever you sense that a particular thought in your mind is from God, test it to make sure that it lines up with biblical truth, since God will never speak anything that’s contrary to how he has already spoken through the Bible. Spend time regularly in solitude and silence so you can focus fully on listening for God’s voice. Be still and reflect regularly on who God is, what he has done, and what he wants to do through you. The closer you get to God, the more you’ll be able to discern his plans for your life – and the more you’ll want to pursue them.
Let love motivate you to say “yes.” Reflect on the profound reality that the Creator of the entire universe loves you passionately and unconditionally, and let the enormity of God’s great love inspire you to thank him for loving you by saying “yes” whenever he asks you to say or do something. Keep in mind that true love always involves giving to others. God gave the ultimate gift of himself to save you. So choose to express love for God by giving (your time, energy, money, talent, etc.) generously as he leads you to do so. Keep in mind Jesus’ assurance that whatever you do for someone in need because of your love for God, you’re ultimately doing for Jesus himself. Reach out to whoever you sense God leading you to help – including people who can’t do anything for you in return – trusting the God’s love will flow through you in incredible ways as you do so.
Be willing to skip some personal indulgences so you can give more to God’s kingdom. Consider all the ways you can free up time, money, and energy to invest in what has eternal value – helping people in need as God leads you – by simply skipping something you don’t really need. For example, if you skip eating out at restaurants for a while and eat at home instead, you can donate the money you’ve saved to your church or a charity that helps feed hungry children. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize the comforts that are constraining your desire to devote yourself fully to following God. Pray for the faith you need to be willing to forgo those comforts so you can take the risks God wants you to take to serve fully in his kingdom. Be willing to make whatever sacrifices God leads you to make in order to participate in the adventures he has planned for you. Place everything you have in your life at God’s service. Don’t let yourself be distracted by pursuits that don’t really matter from an eternal perspective; instead, focus your attention every day on pursuing what has eternal value. Ask the Spirit to show you how God sees the people whose needs he wants you to help meet, and let that compassionate perspective motivate you to love them unconditionally, as God does. As you learn to skip the excesses of the culture around you, you’ll discover that giving really is better than receiving.
Jump into action. The essence of saying “yes” to God is jumping into action by using your God-given gifts to positively impact other people’s lives. Keep in mind that every significant event that ever happened in the Bible happened because someone said “yes” to God. Let yourself wonder about what wonderful opportunities await you when you choose to jump into action in response to God’s leading. Consider what’s holding you back from jumping in to join God in his work – whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself: your job, your reputation, a relationship with a family member or friend, a desire for material comforts, etc.? Pray for the courage you need to choose God above anything lesser in your life. Choose to trust God (who is always reliable) rather than your feelings (which are often unreliable), so nothing will hold you back from experiencing God’s best for your life. Every day, ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern the opportunities he places in your life to help people in need. Regularly surrender your will to God so you can pursue his will without your own desires holding you back from what’s truly best for you. Decide to take the first step off the edge of passivity into action, trusting that God will empower you to gain momentum and carry through once you’ve started the jumping process. Rather than doing only what you think you may be able to do by yourself if God doesn’t come through to help you, aim to do what would be impossible without God empowering you. Then, when God sees the faith you demonstrate in trying the impossible, He will show up to perform miracles in your life that he wouldn’t choose to do otherwise. Expect that whenever you decide to jump, your jump will ripple out to others, splashing God’s love into their lives and drawing them closer to him.
Adapted from Love Skip Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes, copyright 2014 by Shelene Bryan. Published by Nelson Books, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Shelene Bryan is the founder of Skip1.org, a charity dedicated to providing food and clean water to children in the USA and around the world. Shelene is an accomplished speaker who now turns her extraordinary ability to challenge and inspire to the written word.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Follow her on Twitter @WhitneyHopler.
Publication date: June 4, 2014