12 Tips For Cultivating Your Own Love For Christ
If you’re a follower of Jesus then He has entrusted you with influence over the people around you.
Some of these people are other Christians. We are called to encourage, edify, and build up our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (Eph.4:29; 1 Thes. 5:11; Heb.10:25). We are also entrusted with influence over people in our lives who don’t yet know Christ. We have a responsibility to declare the gospel verbally and demonstrate the effects of the gospel through our service toward them (Matt.5:13-16; 28:19-20).
While the reality of our influence is not in question, the quality of it is. We can either influence others toward Christ, or away from Him. I would argue that the single most significant determiner in this is the condition of our own spiritual vitality. It’s hard to gush about a God you don’t know. It’s difficult to declare a gospel you don’t get excited about. It’s hypocritical to call people to something you’re not committed to yourself.
The puritan, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), recognized this as a pastor. He wrote,
“Content not yourself with being in a state of grace, but be also careful that your graces are kept in vigorous and lively exercise, and that you preach to yourself the sermons which you study, before you preach them to others. If you did this for your own sakes, it would not be lost labour; but I am speaking to you upon the public account, that you would do it for the sake of the Church. When your minds are in a holy, heavenly frame, your people are likely to partake of the fruits of it. Your prayers, and praises and doctrine will be sweet and heavenly to them. They will likely feel when you have been much with God: that which is most on your hearts, is likely to be most in their ears.” (from The Reformed Pastor)
Baxter wrote as a pastor, to pastors, but the principle holds true for all Christians. We talk about what we love and if we are not always cultivating our love for Christ, our hearts will grow cold and with it our edifying influence.
So, how would you rate your own spiritual vitality? Are you weary and worn out? Are you discouraged and dry spiritually? Our answers to these questions matter. Our own spiritual condition has implications in the lives of those around us.
Here are 12 tips to continue cultivating your own love for Christ…
1. Get in God’s Word each day
2. Be constant in private prayer
3. Be careful about what you watch and listen to
4. Figure out what stirs your affection for Christ and do that a lot
5. Repent of and actively seek to kill your sin
6. Live in community with other believers
7. Share the gospel as often as possible
8. Cultivate intentional relationship with non-Christians
9. Find a Jesus-centered, Bible-preaching church and go every week
10. Read good books
11. Serve faithfully in your local church
12. Give generously to the mission of Jesus