do the next thing
Revival. We’ve been fervently praying for it and we’re beginning to see the fires lighting. The Holy Spirit is answering our prayers, and I cheer anyone who is experiencing God in powerful and biblical ways. Are you seeing this as well?
The historic Jesus Movement was a revolution that transformed countless lives, including mine. If you had told my teenage self that fifty years later my story would be told onscreen, I would have laughed. But you never know what the Lord might choose to do with “foolish things.” It was, I believe, a spontaneous intervention of the Holy Spirit into a generation that was lost and searching—and I pray we will see that again for this generation.
But what comes after that initial, life-changing encounter with Christ? How can we, in our newfound excitement for this bright and beautiful future—for now and all eternity—land firmly on the ground and walk out the realities of ordinary life? In this moment, the most important thing I can tell you is this. Do the fundamentals.
Now I know the basics of Christian discipline sound so boring…walking the walk consistently and routinely. Walking will not typically release those exciting endorphins or feel exceptionally remarkable. But it is necessary and so good.
My testimony for the first six months of coming to Jesus was amazing. My heart and soul were on fire for Him. I was flush with love for Jesus—it bubbled out of me!
But because I didn’t know, or have anyone help me to understand the fundamentals, my story was one of struggle for the next year or so. There was even a brief moment of doubt when I questioned the reality of what I had experienced and wondered if faith could really have a lasting impact on my life. The emotions had passed, and I was alone in a no man’s land. I was dealing with the impact of poor choices in friends and getting weaker by the day.
I needed to know the basics and how they would help me to grow. What are these basics?
- Read and learn to know your Bible.
- Pray consistently.
- Attend church, be part of a small group.
- Serve the Lord in practical ways. Don’t make it all about you. Step out and step up.
- Regularly tell people about Jesus—while you’re at it, show real love for others.
In all the news of what’s been happening in Asbury and spreading to other universities, a dear friend and I were excited for what we’re seeing in answer to so many prayers for revival. Then our conversation took a turn, as she shared some of what she encounters with women through small groups or in prayer meetings. As she spoke, a familiar theme kept emerging. Though the scenarios are uniquely different, each one can be traced to a shaky spiritual foundation.
Some are not rooted in God’s Word. Most are embedded in the distorted world of social media. Many have no real community within the church. Some are wavering under the pressure and weight of ordinary life. Others struggle and cannot seem to get past their own neediness. Why?
There is a common thread, a mindset that says: Tell me something exciting that will fix this problem for me. But doing the fundamentals…really?
The bulk of their spiritual instruction comes from listening to the top podcasts and following Christian influencers. Devotional books, Christian fiction, and someone else’s successful how-to book is their only spiritual daily food. Praying is sporadic and shallow unless they’re in trouble. Attending church is fine—if they’re in town, if they aren’t too tired, if the kids don’t have a game, if they feel like it.
Friends, this simply won’t do.
As Scripture says, “Come near to God and God will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Years ago, a very wise, older man at Calvary Chapel was there to help baby believers learn to walk out their faith. He was direct—even confrontational—as was necessary to a generation of hippies. When someone came for counsel, he would ask the basic questions. When’s the last time you read your Bible? What did you read? Tell me about it. What are you doing about it? Are you praying? What are you praying about and asking God for? He set us all straight!
Looking back, I’m grateful for the older ones who reached across a generational divide to show us how to get deeply rooted in our faith—and that is part of the legacy I want to pass on to this next generation.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). Our life and spiritual growth flows from abiding in Him, and the fruit of habitual, daily discipline begins with simply doing the next thing.
The outflow of that isn’t necessarily seen in a day or a week—but it will bear fruit in the months and years to come. Dear friends, I implore you, let’s do the basics and keep doing them!
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Do you want to follow up on following Jesus?