Last year, the theme was Focused. Making 2019 a year of focus entailed understanding how to grow spiritually through mindfulness. This year will be centered on the theme of Impact. The goal is to further our spiritual growth as Christians in order to make an influential and spiritual impact in our lives and the lives around other people. And, what I mean by having an influential and spiritual impact is this: Having a true and measurable impact where an individual is able to inspire others toward a deep and enriching life of transformation and growth. This still requires focus, and, it requires action through compassion and empathy.
By making this influential and spiritual impact, we are fulfilling the teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:14-16, ESV
To accomplish this, we want to understand 5-core spiritual disciplines that will spiritually influence and impact our own lives.
Keep Christ front and center in your life
At the heart and foundation of having a deep sense of meaning and purpose requires we integrate our relationship with Jesus Christ in all that we do. This comes from the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to the Christians in Colossea:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.Colossians 3:23-24, ESV
Integrating fundamental spiritual principles and values into our daily lives, abiding by those spiritual values and disciplines, helps us create a significant impact on our lives. It flows into goals and objectives we have in mind. This includes having accountability in order to maintain and sustain sense of meaning and purpose.
Establishing goals with measurable objectives brings our focus on how we are capable of meeting our own needs. Through Christ, we develop a sense of self-efficacy in how we are progressing and growing. It also keeps our focus sharp in reviewing our journey in deepening our faith.
Through accountability, we maintain Christ-like integrity and transparency. We invite wise counsel and guidance from others around us. In turn, we provide wise counsel and guidance toward other individuals growing in their own faith.
Engage in meaningful prayer and supplication
Writing to the Christians in Philipi, the Apostle Paul reminded them of this important spiritual truth:
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.Philippians 4:6, ESV
Paul also admonished the Christians in Ephesus on the importance of prayer:
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,Ephesiahs 6:18, ESV
This requires commitment in devoting time for personal prayer in order to seek personal revelation that will help us. Through prayer, we will find sustained wisdom and guidance. We also want to take the time to pray for others. And, sometimes we pray in that moment of their request. This latter part requires spiritual discernment and judicious consideration.
Not only do we want to engage in personal prayer, we also want to remember the importance of meditation when we pray. Meditation means to focus our attention on those scriptures of God’s word, being mindful of our own body, mind, and spirit in bringing our entire self into His presence, and seeking His guidance and counsel through silence. Prayer, coupled with meditation, brings us to a place of worship in our private moments.
Along with taking dedicated time to pray and meditate. We want to bring others around us to pray with us and for us. The journey requires companionship and support. Going back to Paul’s admonishment to the Christians in Ephesus, when we have others stand with us in prayer, we are collectively keeping one another alert and able to persevere through Jesus Christ.
Keep Christ-Like Character a priority
Writing to his disciple, Timothy, the Apostle Paul admonishes his young disciple (and us) the importance of maintaining Christ-like integrity and character:
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.1 Timothy 6:11, ESV
What we are to flee are those things that take our focus and attention away for living a Christ-centered life. These are those things that may become stumbling blocks in our pursuit to attain a deeper and more meaningful impact on our lives. These things we are to flee from may be described as that which 1 John 2:16 describes:
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world1 John 2:16, ESV
Instead, the Apostle Paul instructs that we pursuit righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. These character traits require us to be determined and diligent in our pursuit in attaining and sustaining them. These are qualities that help us emulate Christ in our everyday lives.
- Pursuing righteousness means we transform our lives by the renewing of our minds upon God’s word (see, Romans 12:1-3, ESV).
- Pursuing Godliness means we live with awareness of God’s Holy presence in our lives every day.
- Pursuing faith means we live with expectation, intention, and trusting in God’s divine will for our lives.
- Pursuing love means we live in fulfilling the two great commandments: The love toward God with all that we have and the love toward others as we love ourselves (See, Matthew 22:36-40, ESV).
- Pursuing steadfastness means we are living in a manner where we face our difficulties through our trust and devotion to God. It means we persevere in all things through God’s grace and mercy.
- Pursuing Gentleness means we are living in God’s will and are not timid or weak. Through God, we are empowered with strength and courage.
It is through these Christ-like qualities that we are able to make an influential and spiritual impact our lives; as well as in the lives of others around us.
Integrate Scriptural principles in our daily lives
We already mentioned the purpose and intent of pursuing love by obedience to the two commandments. Through our submission and obedience in loving God, and loving others, we are initiating a practice of showing compassion, empathy, charity, and generosity toward self and others. It allows us to share how we are living and what it means for us to live with intention and purpose. No greater spiritual influence and impact than showing Christ-like love toward other people. This is because, through us, we are able to allow Christ to minister to others.
Engage in practical and meaningful service
Finally, we follow another of the Apostle Paul’s admonition:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4, ESV
The best way to make a significant spiritual influence and impact is to allow yourself ways to engage in practical and meaningful service. This does not mean strictly serving a faith-based community. It means to stretch yourself in ways where you initiate ways to be a blessing to your family, neighbors, and community in general. Establish ways to volunteer, take a moment to clean up, engage in fundraising campaigns to help local charities, ministries, and other community based organizations.
By being in service within our communities, we are really in the service of God in order to let Christ’s love and compassion shine bright in the hearts and lives of all people. There is no personal gain. There is no competition, and requires a depth of gratitude and humility to reach out and help where there is a need. This includes seeking collaboration from other people. Getting others engaged and involved.
Damascus Way Recovery is on mission to spiritually influence and impact the lives of others
Therefore, this year, Damascus Way Recovery needs your support in its efforts to spiritually influence and impact the lives of men who are struggling with their faith, suffering substance use related disorders, impulsive and compulsory behaviors, and struggling with mental health issues (i.e., depression, anxiety, abandonment, et. el.).
How you are able to support this program is:
- Subscribe to receive daily devotions, inspiring messages, news, and announcements
- Share these devotions and messages through social media and email
- Engage in meaningful and thought discussions on those devotions and messages you find relevant in order to gain greater insight
- Pray for this program and how you are able to be a part of this movement toward restoring men into a healthy relationship with Christ
- Make a small financial contribution to help fund this website and program in order to minister to those who are broken and lost
Together, let us make 2020 a year of spiritual influence and impact in our own lives and the lives of those around us.