James 1: 22
As I was teaching the trial run of what would become "Live Like You're Loved," the class had a question for me. "How do we really do this stuff? How do we put the material into practice?"
One woman said, "I've got laundry to do. How do I make time for God?" (I think she was being facetious, but point made).
It's a good question. In this last of my blog series on my book and video study, "Live Like You're Loved," I want to give a guiding thought on putting the material's advice into practice. Then during Lent, I'll present a new series of 7-Day Practical Faith Blogs on Fridays aimed to improve our spiritual disciplines and give ideas on what we can do specifically when we make time for God.
One of my biggest concerns when I author material like "Live Like You're Loved" is that people will like it but won't put it into practice. This goes opposite of what James tells us in his letter (James 1: 22):
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
That should carry an exclamation mark: Do what it says!
I have two thoughts, actually two keywords, on how we can do what it says. The first is intentionality. This is doing things on purpose, having a plan, setting priorities.
That trial class asked me, "How do I make God a need in my life?" That's another way of saying, how do I make God a priority? I actually think we take advantage of God, knowing He'll always be there for us. We think we can put Him off for awhile and get around to Him later. But remember, one of my watchwords for "Live Like You're Loved" is "Daily." Immediacy. Putting God off denies you the blessings of living like you're loved today, in this moment. It denies you being able to connect the present to the eternal. Your life will become easier, not harder, when you choose to prioritize a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The other key word is awareness. If we're aware of which time, or how little time, we spend with God, it can help us prioritize better. Also, we need to become more aware of our own feelings, our energy, our response to events, our emotions, our brokenness, and hence we realize our need for change. We should become more aware of the needs of those around us, so we can put into practice the principles of loving and forgiving others, and being sent into the world to do good.
Perhaps now you can see the power of the baby steps in the content, called SAIL steps. They give us a way to be intentional. They create more awareness about ourselves, others, and our situation.
Maybe one day you can get to the point where a life with God is completely natural and instinctive. But to start, I recommend the discipline of intentionality and the sensation of awareness to begin to connect with God in deeper ways, exploring how you are loved, forgiven, sent and eternal.
A great way to start down an intentional path is to purchase the book or video study, "Live Like You're Loved." Retired pastor Liz Moen read the book and wrote, "The journey into living like you are loved doesn’t end with understanding God’s love. Cecil moves God’s love into the reality of our daily lives through practical steps for living in - basking in - the love of God. Cecil’s SAIL steps prompt the reader to make a genuine investment of mind, heart, body, and time, so that each individual step becomes part of a meaningful spiritual journey."
If you're only looking for a paper product or an e-book, you can find the book and Participant's Guide on Amazon and other booksellers by searching for "Live Like You're Loved Cecil Taylor." If you're looking for the video study or a bundle that includes videos and books for your small group or church, please visit CecilTaylorMinistries.com.