God's Word tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that outward beauty is deceptive and fleeting while inward beauty is unfading and of great worth. It doesn't take long to look at today's media and see how the world is trying to convince us otherwise! Read uplifting and encouraging real life stories from Christian women about true beauty and health. Start seeing yourself as the women God created you to be!
Let’s look at some pertinent steps to walking with God daily. My hope is not only to shed light on how each one leads us further into attaining more of God, I hope you can see where God has you right now. Plenty of other faithful followers of Christ could supply you with their own version of the steps God has led them to walk with him. All to say, these steps are not written in stone. I’m only sharing these for the benefit of helping you to find God in the way I can. Any wise Christian will tell you to study under many teachers, and to familiarize yourself with the presence of God and his revealed Word, the Bible.
Some steps overlap—that’s normal. But to walk with God wholeheartedly in these principles will be what takes you from messy to miraculous in your pursuit of Christ and his presence.
Conviction is the thing that brought me to God in the first place by the feelings of “needing to get right with God.” Conviction of the Holy Spirit is what kept falling on me in the club.
It went like this—
First, a feverish pitch of angst would pummel me. Not the typical kind of anxiety I often struggled with, mind you. This was panic-attack material; leaving me stricken by a nauseous trepidation at the thought of working the floor, talking to customers, or anything else. I felt too paralyzed by fear to even leave the dressing room.
Next, a furious disdain for the industry would engulf my emotions. The ghetto girl inside me blazed of anger, she wanted to kick tail and take names. For things I’d seen, things I knew of, and things I ignorantly took part in; things like filth, and degradation, and outright injustice. I resented that I couldn’t pack my bags, head for the door, and never don that disgusting establishment again. Had I been able to I would have. But no, I felt trapped. I had to work.
Then, a resentfulness toward the men would enrage me, while a slew of disturbing images flashed in my head like a strobe light. I almost couldn’t take it. The perversion. The expectations. The beastly behaviors. The scores of married men. I wanted to scream, “Go home to your wife, you good-for-nothing loser!” Only I’d have added a few expletives back then, of course.
Last, the thought of their wives being stabbed in the back stabbed my heart too. Suddenly, my own self-disgust came alive. So much so, I’d viciously attack myself for being the trashy home-wrecking woman who participated in keeping such an evil fed.
Nothing was powerful enough to relieve that heavy load of misery crashing down on me. Not a personal pep talk, not a shot of liquid courage, and not a drug either. The only relief was to pack my bags, and to head back home.
The hardest part was I had no way to logically resolve this mess in my head. It made no sense, and I had no way of mentally contextualizing it. It was baffling.
Now I absolutely get it. I was feeling the conviction of God’s Spirit at my workplace. Conviction feels like guilt but is more than guilt; it’s the Spirit of God saying, “This is the way to go. Walk in it.” He’s urging us to go to him. Right this second. Yes, you are guilty. But if you’ll go to him, talk to him about what’s going on, and own up to whatever you need to own up to, he will grace you, forgive you, cleanse you, and empower you with newfound strength, resolve, and the continued awareness of his leadership in your life.
Conviction is feeling the drawing of God’s presence in your life to surrender to him in a particular way. Conviction is also the sorrow we feel when we fail to surrender to God. Conviction is a beautiful gift from God that draws on our emotions for the sole purpose of bringing us back to where we belong: In the presence of God. Drenched in a wonder for God. Allowing his Spirit to purify us. Once he saturates us, he sets us free to run forth by lighting up our world for his fame and people’s highest longing.
In short, when you feel that faint drawing on your heart to get right with God, to admit your sin, to say you’re sorry, to seek him more, that’s conviction.
Listen to him. Immediately. You’ll find his life there.
Repentance is getting raw honest with God. Talking to him about what we’re feeling. Hiding nothing. Withholding nothing. Throwing our guts up before God and getting the whole rotten mess out before him. Repentance is how God cleanses the deepest places of our soul. It’s also how he ushers forth the power of his Holy Spirit to transform our lowly selves into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Bypassing a lifestyle of true repentance before God will quench the Holy Spirit’s available power from manifesting itself in our daily lives. Repentance keeps our house of worship (our bodies) clean and usable for God and his kingdom. If we want to stay aware and sensitive to God each day, living a lifestyle of repentance before him is vital. Repentance is taking full responsibility for every thought, action, word, misdeed, and all areas of pride, self-reliance, ways we’ve not heeded God’s conviction, or lack obeying Christ.
In short, repentance is buckling our knees to the authority and character of God. The moment we feel guilty. The second we sense the Spirit’s “no-no” in our hearts. Instead of waiting until we “feel like it,” we don’t allow ourselves the room. Living a lifestyle of repentance is walking in step with the holiness of God today—right now.
The thing is, God allowed me to choose my own way but not barring consequences. If that was the direction I wanted to take, I could. But this was the consequence: the fullness of God’s manifest presence wasn’t participating. Not that he took his presence from me. He simply said, “Alright, I see what you want. You go ahead. I’m going to sit right here.” And he did. He sat down, and sat quietly. Until I decided I’d had enough running around, doing my own thing.
Only thing is, doing my own thing was awfully lonely and unfulfilling. Repentance releases the pent-up dam for a fresh release of the presence of God. It restores the joy of our salvation, and the oneness we delight in with his Spirit, and hunger to have more of, with God.
Repentance also secures us from living in the wide-open territory of the enemy’s camp. Walking in a lack of holiness to God and habitual sin removes from us, to some measure, the protection of God because what we’ve done is taken sides with the Enemy against our God. We have willingly come into agreement with Satan’s purposes, plans, and will for our lives, therefore, we are free game for him to lead us astray, to torment us, and to seduce our head full of lies leading us to destruction. Satan’s biggest game is to seduce us into self-destructing ourselves. Repentance secures our safety, restores our vision, and opens the lines of communication and intimacy between God and us. Living a lifestyle of repentance is vital. Repentance brings down the walls separating us from God.
Having a teachable heart is vital for knowing God more, for keeping what we’ve already attained in him, and for actively engaging with God from day to day—even being used by him. Having a teachable disposition before God not only blesses him, it allows him to use us in greater measures. Why is this so? Because the one who has a teachable heart is yielding to his conviction by surrendering themselves fully; plus, they are showing signs of great humility and obviously yielding in repentance before him too. Those who are teachable get to enjoy the secret things of God because they’ve proven themselves trustworthy enough to share his heart with. When we walk with God, his ways are not like our ways. We must yield to his leadership, his way of doing things, him calling the shots and us simply following. But oh when we follow. This is where the “more” is found.
In my own life, like I told you already, God required more of me than he seemed to require of others. Now, whether that was true or not is subjective to my own narrow-minded insight. In all honesty, we never fully know what God is doing in another person. Truth is, they could be under the same levels of conviction as us but in other areas. One cannot see. What do we know?
Having a teachable heart is looking to God as our source of life, not comparing ourselves with others to the right or to the left. Seeing what they’re learning, doing, or not doing. Our eyes are on the Great Teacher, not pinging here and there and everywhere, giving us a serious case of spiritual A.D.D. Having a teachable heart is a willingness to listen to our Instructor and to do what he says—and the sooner the better for God to receive highest worship and our greatest joy.
Intercession is living in a place of open dialogue with God for you and for others. Where conviction draws us to God, intercession keeps us before God. It positions him in the most prominent place for everything pertaining to life, to godliness, to his will and work in our lives, as well as his will and work in others. If a crisis comes up and we turn to God in prayers, calling on him to act, throwing the situation and circumstances before him, that’s intercession. Intercession is more than the simple act of praying but it’s throwing all things before him and calling on Him to move, to act, to intervene, and to respond. Intercession is not about having polished and primped prayers for others to be impressed by. Intercession is living a humble life before God, welcoming him into every area of our lives and the lives we are bringing before him, and keeping our ear to his chest to hear his heartbeat. Intercession is not just praying; it’s listening for his plans, purposes, and areas where he is inviting us to join him in the work he has in mind and desires to do.
Like the time I was specifically praying for Erin in the quietness of my closet. I was earnestly praying for his salvation—even frustrated. God was making himself quite obvious. So I begged God, “What in the world is the problem? I don’t understand.” Little did I know, God was about to speak. As I came out of the closet, I was about to make my bed when all of a sudden a Scripture verse flashed in my mind’s eye—Ezekiel 12:1. Being new to the Bible, I was clueless what it said. That’s when I said out loud to the Lord, “Lord, if this is You talking to me, I’m about to freak out.” Right about then I saw my Bible lying on the bedside table. As my heart was beating out of my chest, I went and opened it to Ezekiel 12:1–2:
“The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious house. They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house.’”
I screamed, and nearly ran a lap in my room! What in the world? God blew my mind. He also gave me exactly what to begin praying over my husband. This is one way how intercession works.
What God was teaching me was how to get on the same page with him so I could align more fully to praying specifically—according to how God sees things. Some say intercession is a gift some are given by the Holy Spirit, and others are not. Although, I agree to a certain point, I beg to differ too. Granted, some people are houses of prayer walking around on two legs. Like my friend, Shannon, or another woman I love, Mary Ann. Don’t dare ask these women to pray unless you mean it because they will and they take it seriously. Both of these women live to pray and pray to live. They live keenly aware of the presence of God and always seem on point to how God seems to be moving around them.
Do they have a special gifting or anointing on their life for prayer? Yes.
However, I do think you and I can grow to become more like them, and God wants us to.
In short, intercession is leaving the shallow shores of “God bless our food, our lives, and our dog,” for the much rougher waters where God is teaching us “to will and to work for his great pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 ESV). Even the deeper waters of praying for ourselves: “God, if you do not keep my head above water, I won’t make it.” Or the deep waters of praying for our families: “God, if Yyu do not keep all of us treading these dangerous waters, we’re all sure to die. You alone are our only Help, our greatest victory, and our ultimate joy. In Jesus’ mighty, saving, powerful name.”
So there we have it. Each step could be its own book, actually. I could’ve written for days. But that’s not the goal, nor my intention. My prayer is to help set you to your feet and start to journey down the road with God a little further. To offer help from my own daily walk of learning how to stay connected with God, sensing his presence all around, and doing his work.
Conviction pricks us by setting us to our feet.
Repentance cleanses us by strengthening our ankles and legs.
Teachability keeps us in step with the Holy Spirit.
Intercession clears our vision to see as the Spirit sees.
This is the lifestyle of a worshipping warrior—tasting glory.
One who cannot get enough of God because he’s so fascinating.
Excerpted from More, Copyright © 2015 by Tammie Head, all rights reserved. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee.
Tammie Head will be the first to tell you that her life is a walking miracle. God has taken her from utter depravity to living a life she never dreamed of. Head's desire for God is insatiable, and she cannot keep him to herself. The effect on others who come in contact with her is usually the same, Christians and non-Christians alike: they want to know God like she does.
Publication date: March 12, 2015