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Christian Living

What should define the Christian life? Practical and biblical advice for living an abundant life with Jesus.

4 Spiritual Disciplines for Summer

Here are four spiritual practices to deepen your relationship with God this summer.

There’s nothing supernatural about summer, but the season feels different, doesn’t it?

Maybe your schedule loosens with the close of the school year, or you find yourself stressing out for what should be fun vacations. Whether summer brings deeper rest or unrest, the change in season invites us to consider engaging—or re-engaging—in spiritual practices.

Spiritual practices—also known as spiritual disciplines—mark the lives of followers of Jesus and sustain our relationship with God. Just as regular phone calls or eating dinner with loved ones build our relationship with them, spiritual disciplines strengthen our relationship with God.

Regardless of where you find yourself—stressed or relaxed—here are four spiritual practices to aid your relationship with God this summer:

1. Prayer

Writing on prayer in Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster said, “Of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.” Prayer is how we talk with God. We see Jesus model prayer for us in the gospels (Luke 11:1–4) and are directed to continually pray by the apostle Paul (1 Thess. 5:17). Without prayer—much like without consistent communication with a friend or loved one—our relationship with God is distant and apathetic.

Prayer encompasses many postures: praise—expressing joy to God; thanksgiving—showing gratitude for God’s gifts and provision; confession—acknowledging our sin before God; lament—bringing our grief to God; and petition/intercession—asking God for forgiveness or to act on someone else’s behalf.

Exercise: Fixed Hour Prayer

Early Christians prayed at specific times of day to establish a rhythm of talking to God. Set a time to pray each day through the rest of the summer.

For more on prayer, visit The Prayer Practice by Practicing the Way in the RightNow Media library.

2. Sabbath

Keeping the sabbath might be the most disruptive spiritual practice in our modern age. In the Old Testament, the sabbath was the day set aside for all people to stop working and worship God. To be part of the people of God back then meant you practiced sabbath. Now, followers of Jesus are not obligated to keep the sabbath (Col. 2:16), but the principle of following God’s model of rest in Genesis 2:1–3 is woven into the very fabric of creation. Regularly practicing worshipful rest can be good for you even if it’s not required of you.

Because we live in a fast-paced, achievement-oriented culture, purposefully withdrawing from all work—not just our employment—for a set time to stop, rest, delight, and worship may be exactly what your soul longs for this summer.

Exercise: Mini-Sabbath

Setting aside an entire day to rest and enjoy God may be intimidating. Start with a small amount of time—a weekday afternoon or a Saturday morning—where you remove distractions and engage in activities that deepen your joy in God and relationships with others.

For more on the sabbath, visit The Sabbath Practice by Practicing the Way in the RightNow Media library.

3. Fasting

In Matthew 6, Jesus assumes his followers will fast when he warns us about practicing our “righteousness in front of others” (v. 1) when we give to the poor (vv. 2–4), when we pray (vv. 5–15), and when we fast (vv. 16–18).

At its core, fasting is choosing to go without something you want or need to make room for something you want or need even more. Perhaps you choose to go without food to make room in your heart to hear God or to give the money or food you would have used to sustain your own body to sustain someone else.

Exercise: Fast with a Friend

Fasting has the potential for good, but also misuse. Because of the dangers of treating fasting like dieting or taking your heart to an unhealthy place with food, ask someone you trust if fasting is a good spiritual discipline for you to try. If they agree, invite them to walk with you as you start this practice. Consider skipping lunch once a week and spending the time you would have been eating to pray with your friend.

For more on fasting, watch The Fasting Practice by Practicing the Way in the RightNow Media library.

4. Solitude

Solitude can be refreshing for some and a struggle for others. But Jesus demonstrated the need to spend time alone throughout his life—withdrawing to the desert to start his ministry (Matt. 4:1), retreating after a busy day of ministering (Mark 1:35), and before making monumental decisions (Luke 6:12–16). Just as Jesus needed space to hear from the Father, we need solitude to turn down the noise of our busy lives and focus on God. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the goal of solitude is not to be alone—rather solitude frees us from noise to be with God.

Exercise: Find Your Place

While we can make space to be alone with God anywhere, it can be helpful to have a designated space to retreat and sit with God. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy—maybe it’s your back porch, your kitchen table, or at a local park. The goal is to go to this place consistently and avoid distractions to focus your attention on God. Determine where that place is and use it for holy solitude this summer.

For more on the practice of solitude, check out The Solitude Practice by Practicing the Way in the RightNow Media library.

The goal of our life is to become more like Jesus for the sake of the world. As we pray, rest, fast, and retreat, we hope to seize the opportunity summertime provides for us to grow in greater affection for God.


Methods of Christian Political Engagement

How can we take seriously the responsibility of civic engagement in a way that mimics and glorifies Jesus?

The United States is a unique place. We enjoy innumerable freedoms, prosperity beyond belief, and endless opportunities.

But what makes America especially unique is that our government, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In other words, the responsibility for ordering the life of the country falls squarely upon its citizens. We vote, advocate, and even call our representatives to account because we all have a share in the stewardship of this country.

But today, when American politics feels so topsy-turvy, it’s easy to fall prey to the political spirit of our age. The country seems as angry and divided as it’s ever been and, if we’re honest, the church is sometimes guilty of joining in that divisiveness ourselves. But Christians ought to serve as a contrast to much of what we see in the public sphere—not merely as good, civil people, but as those who engage in the way of Christ. So, how can we do that? How can we take seriously the responsibility we’ve inherited in a way that mimics and glorifies Jesus?

Christian Political Engagement

In his book Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel, Dr. Russell Moore writes that “We are Americans best when we are not Americans first.” Stated differently, only when we prioritize our heavenly citizenship and apply its values here and now are we able to exercise our duties as American citizens most faithfully.

In many ways, the economy of American politics is at odds with what we value as Christians. Whereas politics values charisma, the kingdom values humility (Matthew 5:5); whereas politics values power, the kingdom values service (Matthew 20:24–28); whereas politics (in its current form) values and even incentivizes division, the kingdom values peacemaking (Matthew 5:9). There is a gulf, in other words, between the beliefs and ethics embedded in American politics and those we inherited upon gaining citizenship in the kingdom of God. But that doesn’t mean we’re being called to disengage politically; it means we’re called to engage.

Galatians 5 shows us how to live and engage in a different way, as good citizens of both kingdoms: by the Spirit, with the fruit of the Spirit, for the good of our neighbors.

By the Spirit

How can we keep our footing in a cultural-political current rushing so swiftly away from truth? “By the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).

In a disorienting time like ours, we are called by Christ to “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18); “be led by the Spirit” (Romans 8:14); “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16); “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25); and “bear the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22–23). More concretely, living by the Spirit means that we depend on him for guidance in everything we do, from talking politics with family to engaging online to standing up for what’s true and good. A life lived in fellowship with the Spirit is a prerequisite, and ongoing requirement, of faithful political engagement.

Whenever we enter the political sphere, we should always ask, “What would be the most faithful way to honor God in this situation?”

With the Fruit of the Spirit

Much of our politics is seething with a spirit opposed to the way of Christ, wooing our hearts and our tongues to engage in “idolatry,” “hatreds,” “strife,” “outbursts of anger,” “dissensions,” “factions,” “and anything similar” (Galatians 5:20–21). But the people of God are commanded not to “practice such things” (Galatians 5:21).

Instead, when we live by the Spirit we will bear the fruit of the Spirit, engaging others—even those with whom we disagree—with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). We must resolve not to act in the way of the world, to fight fire with fire, so that we might be defined by the attributes of God.

For Our Neighbors

Living with the fruit of the Spirit is not merely an internal reality, but a commitment to serve others in a godly manner. Since our system of government, as Lincoln asserted, is “by the people” and “for the people,” we have the opportunity to leverage our political engagement as a means of obeying the great commandment (Matthew 22:37–40)—to create a government that works for our neighbors in love. And there are plenty of ways—large and small—that we can serve and engage for the good of others: we can vote men and women of character into office, advocate for policies that benefit the most vulnerable among us, engage in charitable dialogue with those “across the aisle,” and maybe even run for office ourselves!

We should be involved in politics as an exercise of love for our neighbors.

The muddled state of American politics can be disheartening. And if we’re not careful, we can convince ourselves to throw up our hands and disengage entirely. But we are invited by Jesus to “let [our] light shine before others”—from our homes to the halls of Congress—“that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). As you look out over the state of American culture and politics, let your light shine by looking for ways to engage by the Spirit, with the fruit of the Spirit, for the good of your neighbors.

For an in-depth look at the way our faith should inform our political engagement and the specific issues Christians should be involved with, watch For the Health of the Nation, a series RightNow Media produced in collaboration with the National Association of Evangelicals.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

How should we, the church, respond to the Christmas season in light of the pain in the world?

Christmas is . . . complicated.

Yes, it is bright, merry, joyful, and the most wonderful time of the year. A season to celebrate Emmanuel, God with us. But it can also be the most difficult time of year for those who are lonely, are walking through the loss of a loved one, or have contentious relationships with their family. Even some of our most treasured Christmas songs are complicated. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was written from the point of view of World War II soldiers, dreaming of home while living in the horrors of war, while Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” resigns to “muddle through, somehow,” hoping her troubles will be gone next year. That’s not very merry or bright.  

Even so, Andy Williams was right: Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. But the contrast of love, joy, peace, and hope with the reality of the wounds, wars, and worldliness of our daily lives can be jarring. How should we, the church, respond to the Christmas season in light of the pain in the world?


One solution is to ignore the darkness that surrounds us, to not talk about the news and ignore the struggles of the holidays. But that won’t do, especially for the people commanded to be light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14). We don’t have the option of hiding under a bushel to preserve our peace. 

Another response would be to reject the joy of Christmas in an effort to highlight the necessary needs of the world, becoming cynical toward the ignorantly holly-jolly attitude of the season. Joylessness is not an appealing option, especially for those of us who love the decorations and music of Christmas. But a muted, honest response may feel like the only way to address the real hurt in the world around us. Is this season about Christ or the excess of materialism? Where is the joy we sing about for the starving in Yemen? Where is the peace that is heralded through the speakers of our shopping centers? Why is it here but not in Ukraine or Uvalde? In this world, Christmas can feel like glossy wrapping paper around a lump of coal. Like Frank Sinatra sings in the too-often-ignored carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”: 


I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

But in despair I bowed my head,
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

Yes, the world is broken and can appear hopelessly irreparable. And, yes, our cultural values have infiltrated Christmas. But cynicism towards Christmas isn’t a path to wholeness. Quite the contrary: our only hope in life or death is that baby in the manger, the “reason for the season.” The world needs our celebration of Jesus. We can’t solve a crisis on the other side of the world, but we can share the joy of Jesus’s birth with everyone we meet.


So, we cannot avoid the complications of Christmas, but we also cannot reject the happiness of the holiday. We walk a third path, the way of Christ, of intermingled joy and sorrow. We groan and weep because of sin and its effects but we can do nothing but rejoice in the hope we have found in Christ (Romans 8:22–25; Philippians 4:4–5). 

Just think about the way we celebrate Christmas. In the coldest season of the year, when darkness overwhelms our non-working hours, we emblazon our homes with lights and warm ourselves with hot chocolate. We brave the winter weather to be near to family, bearing gifts to (what can seem like) everyone we know. We focus on giving, serving, and compassion toward the needy in our communities. We defy the present darkness to proclaim our hope in Jesus (John 1:5). That is the Christian life!


The spirit of Christmas is neither avoidant nor despairing; it is defiantly hopeful. We are caught between the two comings of Christ and choose to live in the assurance of the second while acknowledging that we can do more to spread light of his first. Yes, we are awash with pain, loneliness, grief, war, poverty, and illness, but it will not always be that way. We can stand where and sing triumphantly with Frank Sinatra into the wintery night:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.’

Merry Christmas. Come, Lord Jesus. 


Gratitude: The Holy Habit of Noticing

For Christians, Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to reflect on all God has done and is doing and thank him. ‍Learn to make gratitude a daily habit.

If you live in the United States, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

A holiday brimming with delicious food, time with family and friends, and lots of football, Thanksgiving is also a day to remember what we’re thankful for. For Christians, Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to reflect on all God has done and is doing and thank him. 


Gratitude should mark the people of God, but we can be tempted to reserve it for a holiday or mealtime prayers. Paul exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” His command feels extreme—does he really want us to give thanks in everything? If so, what does gratitude even look like? How can we start building a habit of thanksgiving?


The good news is we can become grateful people by the power of the Spirit, and we can begin growing in gratefulness with one simple step: noticing what God is doing in our lives. 

What to Notice



Paul mentions fourteen times in his letters that he thanks God for the people he’s writing to. Have you ever stopped to consider why he mentioned his gratefulness for his fellow Christians? Whether he is about to write words of rebuke or correction or encouragement, he still thanks God for the church—for people. He notices them. More importantly, he notices that God has orchestrated his relationship with them, that God put them in his life for a reason, and that God works in and through them. 


People, and our relationships with them, can stir up gratitude in us, just as Paul’s friendships produced thanksgiving in his heart. Who in your life are you grateful for?



Just as God brings people into our lives, he also places us in our neighborhoods, jobs, and churches. When he created the world, he put humans in it to live, grow, and take care of creation. Taking time to notice the world God put you in—your workplace, your home, your car, your church, your neighborhood park—can help cultivate gratitude in your heart. Yes, difficult places exist. Brokenness riddles our world. But God’s goodness, faithfulness, and kindness always shine forth through the brokenness for us to witness and thank him for.

Where has God placed you? What about those places are you thankful for?



Have you ever paused to notice a moment? Maybe the giggles of a playing toddler, the taste of a home-cooked meal, or the words of a hymn in Sunday worship. Or maybe you look back on past moments, spending time to reminisce with old college friends or to remember a loved one who’s passed away. 


Past or present, moments encapsulate beauty. Slowing down to notice important or even seemingly insignificant moments can make us more grateful.

Is there a moment you’re thankful for? What could it look like to pause and notice the beauty of a moment today?

How to Notice


Taking notice of your people and your world—and seeing all of it as God-given, as proof of his love and grace—is the first step toward gratitude. When we know what to notice, we can move from simply observing our lives to giving thanks to God. Thanksgiving can look different for all of us, but there are a few practical ways we can weave it into our lives.


Keep a journal.

Keeping a gratitude journal is trendy for a reason. When we put pen to paper and list what we’re grateful for, we acknowledge what God has given us in a physical way. Regularly slowing down to thank God helps solidify gratitude in our hearts and builds our thankfulness muscle. Journals can also help us remember what God has done for us when we’re facing impossible, difficult situations. In many ways, it is an act of worship to write down what we are grateful for. Grab a journal or a pad of paper and try writing down three things you’re thankful for every day, then turn your list into a prayer of praise.


Tell someone what you notice and why you’re grateful for it.

Gratitude is contagious. When we tell others what we’re thanking God for, we point them to gratefulness. Take a walk with a friend or call a family member and weave gratitude into your conversation organically. Notice how speaking with thankfulness about your life affects others. Or tell a significant person in your life that you are thankful for him or her and why, just as Paul did for the churches he wrote to.


Memorize a verse, song, or prayer for when it’s hard to be grateful.

Hardship often makes gratitude feel as impossible as asking the rain to stop pouring. When we face difficulty, the habits we’ve formed in calmer times come in handy. They give us the words to say when we have none to offer. Find verses on gratitude and memorize them (consider Psalm 100; Philippians 4:6–7; or 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Make a playlist of songs that express thanksgiving to God and return to it often. Or find a written prayer that thanks God that you can pray when words don’t come easily.


What happens when I notice and give thanks?

Gratitude transforms us. When we give thanks, we acknowledge God and his work in the world. We lift our eyes from looking at ourselves to see the spiritual reality of our lives.

God is at work. He always has been and always will be.

As you enter the holiday season, look for ways to build a lifestyle of gratitude. Invite your friends and family to join you and see how God grows joy, love, and hope in you as you thank him.


How to Let Go of Control

Our goal should be to live with God, not by our own power and in our own way. So, how do we use the control God has given us while relying on his sovereignty?

Let’s be honest—being in control can feel really good.  Whether it’s perfectly planning a family vacation or having free creative reign over a project at work, being in control gives us a sense of power that can feel downright exhilarating. When we’re in control of a situation, there’s a level of predictability that puts us at ease and, for a moment, makes us feel like we can predict our future. But control also feeds our belief that we’ve got the skill, foresight, and wisdom to prevent any uncomfortable elements of surprise from entering our lives. And that is a lie. 


If we take a step back and look at our desire for control, we’ll see a unhealthy and unrealistic strategy to mask our anxiety—anxiety that we should bring to the feet of Jesus. We might think that being in control is offering us security and safety, but control can strip us from experiencing a beautiful life of faith. It can make us hold onto our idols with a tight-fisted grip and rob us of the ability to mature in Christ.

This isn’t to say that we have no control in this life. After all, God has given us free will and agency to steward our lives, decisions, and the responsibilities he’s given us. Sitting around hoping that God does everything is unrealistic—we still have to make decisions, act in obedience, and use wisdom to walk through this life. But our goal should be to live with God, not by our own power and in our own way. So, how do we use the control God has given us while relying on his sovereignty?


God wants us to rest—and not just by getting enough sleep or relaxing on the beach. When we feel like we have to be in control, we cannot rest. If my present and future depends on me, an afternoon off could be disastrous! What if an email goes unseen? What if my child misses out on an opportunity because of my inaction? Rest is not an option if we have to be gods of our own destinies.

A desire for control creates an inability to rest in the provision of God. He is in control, even when it may not feel like it, and he asks us to trust him with our futures, expectations, and hopes. When we are afraid or worried about tomorrow, we can cast our cares on him because he knows exactly how to handle our needs and our hearts. And, when we trust him, we can live free from worry because we know our good Father is at work, even when we sleep. 

If we want to find rest, we have to begin with acknowledging God—not just turning to him when all else fails. However, releasing control is anything but easy. Learning to rest comes with time and allowing the Holy Spirit to help us. 


To relinquish control, you will have to surrender your whole life to God. If you’re anything like me, then when you think of “surrender,” you think of someone throwing their hands up during a fight—giving up, vulnerable, with nothing left to give because they’ve run out of options. They’re at the will of their opponent. But when we surrender to God, we’re releasing our problems into more capable hands. In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (CSB).


It is exhausting to walk through life trying to control everything around us. We are eager to take on burdens that we weren’t meant to carry. Surrendering control is not about giving up, but about God working through our confusion.


Trusting God can be hard when we find ourselves in situations that we weren’t prepared for, nor have the energy to fix right away. Unforeseen circumstances—bills for unexpected expenses, getting fired, or receiving really bad news from the doctor—can leave us in a pit of anxiety. But even when we can’t see the outcome of our circumstances, God can. 


Part of learning to trust in God is remembering that not only is he in control, but he’s trustworthy. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we should trust in God and not lean on our own understanding. When we rely on our own futile understanding of life’s circumstances, we’re making decisions based on limited knowledge. When we relinquish control and trust God, we are doing exactly what he has called us to—walking by faith and letting him be God.


We’re not going to know everything ahead of time. We can’t. As believers, we stop looking into crystal balls that promise to tell us the future and trust the God who is with us. We cannot know what will happen in five minutes, but that ignorance forces us to trust God moment by moment and through all the surprises in life.

Now what?

At the end of the day, we can only control so much—our character, our behavior, and how we choose to respond to our circumstances. Relinquishing control—especially when we’re used to holding tightly to our plans and decisions—can be really difficult. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can begin to make choices that lead us into a deeper trust in God, the one who has good plans and hope for our lives. 


Consider your life and relationship with control—ask God to help you let go of everything that you’ve been holding onto so that he can lead you to his glorious future.


If you would like to learn more about how to release control and trust God, check out our series with Sharon Hodde Miller, The Cost of Control.

The Truth about Your Mental Health

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re going to break down misconceptions about mental illness and highlight the freedom that comes only from Jesus.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 adults are currently experiencing a mental illness—complicated issues involving mental, physical, chemical, emotional, and spiritual components. It’s safe to assume there are people in your family, at your workplace, and in your church who are currently struggling with mental health. Unfortunately, many stigmas exist around mental health in the church and in the world. 


But here’s the good news: God cares about your mental health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re going to break down misconceptions about mental illness and highlight the freedom that comes through knowing Jesus. 


Misconception: Mental illness only applies to some people. 

Truth: Mental health is for everyone. 

Not everyone has a diagnosed mental illness, but everyone has mental health they need to protect. While about 20% of adults experience life with diagnosed mental illnesses, everyone goes through situations and setbacks that influence their mental wellbeing. A stressful work environment, the death of a loved one, a change in your relationships, or a traumatic experience are just a few examples of common mental health triggers. 


Even if you’re in the 80% of people living without a diagnosed mental illness, you can still be part of the conversation. While not everyone talks about it, mental health is a relevant issue for all people.

Misconception: Mental illness is a new issue. 

Truth: Mental health struggles are as old as the Bible. 

Because of the recent increase in mass media conversations about mental health, it may seem like mental illness is a new issue. But the modern conversation is only catching up to what’s always been true: mental illness is a real struggle for many people. 


Take King David, for example—most of his psalms are emotional cries to God in deep pain or true joy. If you’ve ever felt depressed, you’re not alone. Listen to what David writes in Psalm 6:


“I am weary from my groaning;
with my tears I dampen my bed
and drench my couch every night.
My eyes are swollen from grief;
they grow old because of all my enemies.”


In addition to David, Elijah and Job also faced mental health struggles. Elijah’s mental health suffered during his conflict with Jezebel to the point of Elijah wanting to die (1 Kings 19:3–4). Job felt depressed and fearful in response to his pain and loss (Job 3:24–26). If you’ve ever been emotional because of a broken relationship or situation in your life, you’re in good company. The Bible is a story of imperfect, mentally unhealthy people pursuing a perfect God who can restore hope in even the darkest moments. 

Misconception: Jesus can’t relate to mental health struggles. 

Truth: Jesus can relate to all people. 

The Bible explains Jesus as being without sin, but not without temptation, trials, or emotions. Jesus was fully God and fully human. He can relate to you. 


Hebrews 4:15–16 puts it this way: 


"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” 


The Bible shares countless stories of Jesus experiencing a vast spectrum of emotions. In his time on earth, Jesus was “tempted in every way as we are” so that he would be able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.” There is no feeling, situation, or mental illness that disqualifies you from Jesus’s understanding presence. 

If you are currently struggling with mental illness, you are not alone. You are loved, seen, and cared for by God. Please reach out to a trusted doctor or spiritual leader for insight and advice. There is hope and healing for you.


If you are not struggling with mental illness, there’s probably someone in your life who is. Your kindness and compassion toward those who are struggling helps more than you realize. Your grace and empathy could be the answer to someone else’s prayer.  


Wherever you’re at on your mental health journey, God is right there beside you. The fight for mental health is difficult, but you are never fighting alone. 


For more encouragement and a biblical perspective on mental health, check out RightNow Media’s Mental Health & Recovery Library


Worship As a Lifestyle

Our perspective of worship is often limited to what we experience at church.

Have you ever found yourself leaving a Sunday worship service saying to yourself, “The worship was great—I can’t wait for next week”? Or maybe you've had the opposite reaction: “I love this church, but the worship was not my favorite . . .” No matter which situation you have found yourself in, we can all admit that we sometimes equate worship with the music we sing on a Sunday morning. 

Our perspective of worship is often limited to what we experience at church. But Scripture is clear about what worship is—it extends much deeper than the songs that we sing. Worship is an intimate expression of gratitude for the mercies of God that he’s given to his people. And singing is just one aspect of how we worship. True worship happens when we live a life of sacrifice—when we worship as a lifestyle.

A Living Sacrifice

Paul had a strong grasp of what it meant to worship when he wrote to the Roman church. In Romans 12 Paul writes, 

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

Paul appealed to the church in Rome with the truth that worship is meant to be a sacrificial offering to God. What do we sacrifice? We sacrifice our lives to God. Sacrificing time by setting aside moments to reach out to those we care about is an expression of worship. Worship is sacrificing our money by giving consistently to the local church or covering a friend’s bill. It’s also offering our gifts and talents to help others. We’re called to live a lifestyle of worship—not setting apart portions of our week for worship but instead living in a constant state of worship knowing that every moment can be an act of service to God. 

So, what does it look like to worship with our lives? 

Sacrificial Worship in Spirit and Truth

First, we worship in Spirit and in truth. In John 4:23, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman who would become the first evangelist of Jesus’s ministry. In this passage, John records Jesus’s words as he taught the woman how we worship. Jesus said, 

“But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Worshiping in Spirit and truth means we are led by the Spirit and grounded in the truth of Scripture. We need the Spirit—he moves in us, teaching us to worship, maturing us, and rooting us in truth. Sacrificial worship begins with our relationship with the Spirit. But how, exactly, does he help us to worship? In Romans 12:2, Paul says,

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .”

Worship begins with internal transformation. Renewal of the mind does not come from self-improvement or the next great self-help podcast. The Holy Spirit is the one who changes us. By his power, we experience transformation in our minds, our desires, and our actions. We worship in Spirit and truth by surrendering to the Holy Spirit and allowing him to work in our hearts. When we do so, we allow him to change us, enabling us to offer ourselves completely to God. 

Holy Worship

Second, our worship is to be holy, or set apart. Paul is not calling us to worship perfectly but rather to offer holistic worship. As Jesus’s followers, how we serve, how we give, how we love—they’re all expressions of our worship.

We can often get distracted by the ways of the world and lose sight of where we orient our worship. One example is how our minds are often slaves to any form of stimulation or entertainment. We can spend countless hours streaming Netflix or scrolling through our smartphones and, before we know it, we’ve devoted half our day to mindless consumption. But Paul reminds us that in our worship we should “not be conformed to this age.” Our devotion to God should be all-encompassing, which means we cannot let sin run rampant in our lives. Instead, we should live in a way that shows our lives belong to God. 

Pleasing Worship

Finally, our worship is to be pleasing to God. He wants us to offer our joys, struggles, successes, and hardships to him. We please him as we move away from self-centeredness toward God-centered lives. As we do so, we begin to see that his ways are much greater than ours. Our desires and aspirations begin to align with his. Paul comments on this transformation in Romans 12:2 by saying, 

“. . . so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Paul says when we have a lifestyle of worship, we align with the Holy Spirit, and we know and delight in the will of God. Worship connects us to our creator; it changes us and makes us more like Christ. 

So, how do we worship as a lifestyle? We live a life of sacrifice. We devote every day to God. We worship in Spirit and in truth in a manner that is holy and pleasing to God. The music we sing moves us and allows us to express praise in a unique and creative way. But music isn’t the main avenue of worship—our lives are the ultimate vehicle of worship to our savior. How do you worship? How are you devoting your life in surrender to God?

What would it look like for you to worship as a lifestyle? 

Worship in the Word

Living out our worship begins with a biblical understanding of worship. Gather your family and tune into Worship in the Word. Sing along with Christian artists Shane & Shane as they share ten beautiful, simple songs drawn directly from Scripture, providing a biblical and captivating worship experience. 


Four Ways to Grow Your Faith in the New Year

Read on to learn four practical ways you can spend more time with God in the new year.

Each January, millions of Christians around the world use the start of the new year as a springboard for new spiritual routines. 

But despite our best intentions to engage with God every day, many of us struggle to do so. According to The American Bible Society, 181 million Americans opened a Bible in 2021. Of those 181 million people . . .

  • More than 28 million reported feeling unsure of where to start reading the Bible. 
  • More than 27 million reported not having time to read the Bible regularly. 
  • More than 21 million said the Bible’s “language is difficult to relate to.” 

If you have struggles, doubts, or fears when it comes to engaging with God’s Word, you are not alone. Millions of Christians desire to spend more time with God, but don’t know how.

So, how can we spend daily time with God when obstacles get in our way? To answer that question, we’ll start by digging into what God’s Word says about spending time with him. 

1. God wants to spend time with you.

Spending time with God isn’t just something we should do for him—it’s something he wants to do with us. We serve a personal, caring God who invites us to come to him for rest (Matthew 11:28–30). 

2. There isn’t one “right” way to spend time with God.

If we approach God with a humble heart, we have freedom in the details of how we engage with him. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” God cares more about our heart posture than our method of relating to him. 

3. God’s grace helps us change and keep new habits.

Starting a new habit is overwhelming when we try to do it on our own. However, when we depend on God for help, we are empowered to change by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:1–2 encourages Christians to surrender to God’s renewing sanctification that will help us look more like him. We don’t need self-help; we need to depend on God for true transformation. 

Let’s get practical about how we can spend time with God regularly in 2022. There will be some reflection prompts in the following section, so make sure you have somewhere to record your answers. 

How to Spend More Time with God in 2022:

1. Make a plan.

There’s a big difference between saying to yourself, “I’ll spend time with God at some point,” and “I will spend thirty minutes with God at [time] and [place].” The clearer your plan, the more likely you are to make it happen. Take a moment to write down your plan. 

2. Find an accountability partner.

Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” One of the best tools we have for habit change is the accountability and support of one another. If you want to spend more time with God, it will be helpful to tell trusted friends so they can keep you accountable. Brainstorm a list of possible accountability partners and plan how you will stay accountable to them. 

3. Invite God into your daily routine.

Think of the things you do every single day and ponder how you could integrate God’s Word into those pre-existing routines. For example, if you usually watch TV before bed, try putting your Bible on your bedside table and reading before you go to sleep. If you’re in the habit of listening to the news on your morning commute, try listening to worship music or a sermon. The options are endless. List three things you do every single day and brainstorm ways to invite Jesus into those routines. 

4. Be creative.

Spending time with God doesn’t have to be a chore. You don’t have to do the same thing every day. Remember, God cares more about our heart posture than our method of relating to him. You can switch up your routine by listening to a Christian podcast or watching a Bible study video. RightNow Media has a vast library of biblical videos you can use as a starting point for your devotional time. These videos can help you better understand Scripture, live by biblical values, and learn to share your faith with others.

Want to get started with RightNow Media? Here’s a few video recommendations for any life stage: 

  • Are you a young adult searching for direction? Watch Adulting with Jonathan Pokluda. 

You can also browse our Men’s, Women’s, Youth, and Kids libraries to discover video content for everyone. 

It takes time for habits to form and change, and the journey won’t be perfect. Instead of getting discouraged by your struggles and slip-ups, use them as opportunities to grow closer to God. Remember, he wants to spend time with you. Whether you’re reading the Bible, watching a RightNow Media video, or journaling your prayers to God, each interaction with him will sanctify you to think, act, and love more like Jesus. 

Equip your church, anytime, anywhere with RightNow Media.

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