Walking with God isn't easy. It takes courage, strength, wisdom, humility and sacrifice. Maybe you're here because you don't have supportive people who can help you along the way, maybe you don't know where to start, maybe you're looking for ways to deepen and strengthen your relationship with God. That's why I'm sharing some practical tips with you below.
Ever since I met God, me and my whole life completely changed for the better. I got renewed, restored and rebuilt by the mighty hands of God. The woman I am (becoming) today, is the result of Him, who saved me from my own destruction. That's why I am extremely passionate to share His greatness, might, goodness and love with you.
I know my God, so I know once you lay down your life for Him, He will do mighty things in you and in your life. Just like He did with me.
May God bless you and guide you.
Where to start?
There are plenty ways and resources to strengthen your relationship with God, so I'm sharing with you my favorites.
Also known as The Living Word, because these profound scriptures will truly renew, build and strengthen you. Make sure The Word of God is your foundation. If you don't read the Bible and you base your entire walk on your feelings, assumptions and ways of the world, you're creating your own god. And believe me: your own god will never come close to the greatness of the actual God. His ways are higher than our ways.
There are different translations: literal translations, meaning-to-meaning translations and paraphrases.
The literal translations are translated word-for-word and the most accurate translations to the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic scriptures. These translations can be a bit difficult to start with, but it's valuable.
Examples: King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), American Standard Version (ASV).
The meaning-to-meaning translations are often easier to understand as they are written in modern language. These translations are often easier to start with, because the focus is on the meaning behind the verse instead of the literal translation of each word.
Examples: New International Version (NIV - this is the translation I read the most), English Standard Version (ESV), New American Bible (NAB).
The paraphrased Bibles are even easier to read, but come with a warning: often the authors exercised considerable “poetic license” in interpreting biblical terms and passages according to their own personal religious ideas. So be very careful and sharp minded. Personally, I rarely read these translations because of this reason.
Examples: The Message (MSG), The Amplified Bible (AMP), Living Bible (TLB).
How to read the Bible?
It can be easier to start with the New Testament, also because this is the most accurate for the time we live in. I'd recommend you to Google summaries of the books in the Bible to get an understanding of what it's about (like these summaries) and just start with the book you're interested in the most. Often people start with the gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), but you can also start with Proverbs (Old Testament) if you like practical wisdom or Psalms (Old Testament) if you like poetry.
If you prefer guidance, which I recommend, consider following a reading plan or a Bible study. Churches usually help you to read the Bible, but if you haven't found a church yet, or you prefer something else: the internet is full of reading plans and Bible studies. I'll share my recommendations below.
The key to success, like anything else in life: be consistent. Read the Bible daily and prioritize it. Schedule some time in the morning to start your day off right, or in the evening before you go to bed. Read 10 minutes a day or a chapter a day, whatever works for you. Personally, I make sure I schedule 30 minutes every morning, and I'll wake up earlier if necessary. This way I can think about what I've read throughout the day and apply the lessons and wisdom immediately.
Without praying, there's no personal relationship. Praying is direct contact with God, therefore it's fundamental for your walk with God. Praying shouldn't be something difficult. You can literally tell God anything and ask Him whatever you want. You can share about your doubts, insecurities, difficulties, but also your wins, what you're grateful for and your happiness. Praise Him. Glorify Him. God wants to hear all of it, so don't be afraid to share what you feel and think. When asking things, make sure you don't treat God like some genie in a bottle. He's not our slave, He's the creator of this whole universe. Ask and you'll receive whenever it's aligned with God's will. Use wisdom too, sometimes you already know His will because you get to know God throughout the Bible. Like it's His will for everyone to be saved and it's His will for you to not do any harm.
Be specific. If you don't know what to pray for, ask God to help you with your prayer life. Ask Him to get a better understanding of prayer. Ask Him to help you with the right attitude in prayer. Ask Him what His will is for you. Ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him for healing. Ask Him for guidance. Ask Him for protection. Ask Him for understanding. Ask Him for revelations. Ask Him for strength. Ask Him for courage. Ask Him for a renewed mind and heart. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
If you find it difficult to pray, you can also make use of a prayer journal. Write down what you want to pray for, or write down prayers. Ask others to pray for you. Search for prayers on YouTube. This can be helpful (in the beginning). But remember: prayer is something personal. It's like a conversation. You can only build a relationship if you spend quality time with God, so keep on praying until it gets comfortable and normal.
In this app you can find an online Bible in (almost) every translation, reading plans, prayers and way more. It's really helpful. Personally, I use it for the different translations, so whenever I want a better understanding of a certain verse, I check out multiple translations in this app. I also make use of multiple reading plans, like a 1-year chronological reading plan.
There are plenty more apps you can use, but YouVersion is the only one I use. Some other helpful apps might be:
If you're looking for Biblical explanations to your questions, such as "Why does God allow evil?", "What does the Bible say about being a wife?" or "What does it mean to have the fear of God?", GotQuestions.org answered more than 735.000 questions. Keep in mind that these answers are based on the understanding of other people, so it can give you interesting perspectives. Some are very accurate, some may be questionable. It's important to stay sharp and to read the Bible yourself in order to gain understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Personally, I love this website and I check out this website for quick answers. But for more in depth answers, I'll dig deeper into the Bible and check out other resources, like sermons and other commentary.
This is probably my most used Christian website. OpenBible.info presents you all scriptures based on any topic. If you need an overview of scriptures on -for example-marriage, promises of God or prayer, you can search this topic, and you get all the scriptures lined up. I find this very helpful.
Everything you consume has influence on you. Personally, I prefer Christian music over secular music. I always thought Christian music would be boring, but I found out there are so many different genres and so many amazing artists! To me, Christian music feels more alive than any other music, because God is involved. Here are some of my playlists:
It can be really valuable to listen to the Word too, besides reading it. Sometimes the scriptures can touch you more when you hear it. Personally, I don't like most audio Bibles, but the man who reads the Bible on The Audio Bible podcast (on Spotify) makes the Word come alive in a way that helps me get new insights.