How to Cultivate a God-centered Life

hand holding harvest bundle of wheat

How to Cultivate a God-centered Life

To me, 25 acres meant work and lots of it. Ironically, it meant the same thing to my husband, but instead of dread, he was eager. To him, this was an opportunity to cultivate something new. The work of preparing, planting, and picking a garden is laborious and time-consuming. But, oh, the joy when you see (and taste) the fruit of your labor.

When my husband, then boyfriend, announced he purchased a house that rested on 25 acres, it was a struggle to share in his excitement. 

To me, 25 acres meant work and lots of it. Ironically, it meant the same thing to my husband, but instead of dread, he was eager. To him, this was an opportunity to cultivate something new. The work of preparing, planting, and picking a garden is laborious and time-consuming. But, oh, the joy when you see (and taste) the fruit of your labor.

I think about how this applies to the Christian walk. We acknowledge that following Christ is costly; there are sacrifices, investing today’s resources for tomorrow’s (eternal) investment. But, too often, we shirk our spiritual responsibilities, and we find our spiritual gardens overrun with weeds, in desperate need of pruning. 

Following Christ is a daily commitment to choose the things of God, stewarding our resources in a way that honors Him. Below are a few ways we can cultivate a God-centered life:

1. Prioritize a daily time to pray and study God’s Word.

I recently heard that Satan has become quite innovative in his attacks to keep us from advancing in our spiritual lives. He uses things like Netflix, Facebook, e-mail, our jobs, even our families to keep us from prioritizing time with God. Spending time in prayer (talking to God), reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture (listening to God), is every bit as important as maintaining a healthy diet and workout routine. 

Now, you wouldn’t miss a workout, would you? Why? Because over time, the consequences of neglecting to exercise will be evident in your jeans! Likewise, there are consequences for not spending time with the Lord. They may not be so apparent today or even tomorrow, but over time, not prioritizing our spiritual walk wreaks havoc on all our relationships and personal well-being. 

We must treat our time with God as non-negotiable. Blocking off time on my calendar, having an accountability partner, and telling myself that even if it is just for five minutes that day, helps me be more consistent. We must not let the “business” of life distract us from nurturing our souls by means of time with our Heavenly Father.

2. Regularly confess (and turn away) from sin.

We are sinners, born into sin, and we will continue to sin against God until we die. For salvation, we must confess our sin (our general sin nature) to God, asking Him to save us by believing in Jesus Christ. But, confession shouldn’t stop there. God desires us to not only confess our sin, but turn away from our sinful behavior (Proverbs 6:16-19).

We sin every day, and therefore, we need to seek forgiveness daily. It’s not enough to just confess your sin; you must change the way you live. We are called to put off the things of this world and put on the things of God (1 Peter (2:1-25). Faithful followers of Christ will deny themselves and take up their cross daily (Matthew 16:24-26). It can be costly, perhaps regarding friendships, careers, or even our lives, but an eternity with our Heavenly Father is well worth the cost. 

3. Be active in a local church.

The Bible doesn't present face-to-face communion with other believers as a mere suggestion; it commands us to fellowship and commune with one another in the flesh. This encourages discipleship and accountability, which produces a steadfast and confident faith. Seclusion puts us in danger of "falling away from the faith," as Hebrews warns. Isolated is precisely how the enemy wants us. Our enemy has one objective: to destroy the child of God (John 10:10). He knows that separation from sisters and brothers in Christ and absence from the preaching of God’s Word cause our faith to waver and our resolve to weaken, thus making it easier to succumb to sin. 

We must not fool ourselves into believing that we have “done our Christian duty” by showing up on Sunday mornings. We are called to serve the church; Hebrews 10:24 urges us to “encourage one another to acts of love and good works." Being a part of a church body invites others to be a part of our lives. Godly friends speak truth when we have gone astray and offer us biblical encouragement under challenging circumstances. We need other believers to help us grow in our faith, attend to our souls, and walk with us as we become more like Christ.

4. Be a good steward of resources.

The Bible tells us that all things come from God. Our responsibility? Steward God’s gifts and blessings well. Unfortunately, we tend to forget that God is the Provider of these resources. Our time, money, health, and talents are gifts from our gracious Father that we should use for His glory, not our own. 1 Timothy 17-19 tells us that we shouldn’t put our hope in our wealth, but God. Whatever God has provided isn’t just for our enjoyment, but so we can be rich in good deeds, generous with others, and willing to share. By keeping an open-hand approach to the gifts that God bestows, we find our contentment not in what we have in this life, but in Whom we have eternal life. 

5. Remember the Good News of the Gospel.

“Live your best life now," "You deserve more," "You do you!” One scroll through social media, and it is clear: people need to hear the Gospel. Because our best life isn’t now. We live in a broken and messed-up world. But we can experience abundant life in Christ: "but we hold hope, not our present but our future glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

We can’t save ourselves and earn, buy, or self-help our way to salvation. No, we don’t deserve more, but Jesus still gave His life so we could be saved from the consequences of sin and have eternal life (Galatians 1:4). 

However, the Gospel isn’t just for salvation; the Good News shapes and drives our lives as believers. We can choose calm over chaos, peace over fear, and selflessness over comfort because we know that nothing matters besides a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. When we understand that we are free in Christ, our identity, our worth, is not determined by anything other than being child of God. We live differently. 

We have to choose to follow Christ. Cultivating a God-centered life takes work and doesn’t happen easily or quickly. Meanwhile, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help guide us and lead us to stay firmly rooted in God’s Word, and watch our spiritual lives grow. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Mikhail Azarov

Laura Bailey headshotLaura Bailey is deeply burdened for Christian women who, like herself, juggle marriage, motherhood, careers, church, and community. She candidly shares her daily struggles and lessons learned to encourage them to live fully and abundantly in Christ. She and her husband live in Gaffney, South Carolina with their three young girls. Connect with Laura on her blog, www.LauraRBailey.com or on Facebook and Instagram: @LauraBaileyWrites

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