Locked: Do You Still Have The Message?

In high school, not very long ago mind you, there weren’t many smart phones out. In the area I grew up in, your parents were doing pretty well if you had one. Instead, the bulk of us had those cheap, prepaid flip phones. You know the ones you got at Walmart. They were blue, the more expensive ones were silver. About 96% of us, who had phones, had one of these.

What I remember most about these phones is something that I don’t even think my iPhone 8 has the ability to do. In the text messages of these flip phones, there was the capability to “lock” a text. Locking a text ensured that that text couldn’t be easily deleted, and it would stay on your phone until you decided you wanted to unlock, and delete it. This was probably the equivalent to what we call today a “screenshot”. Locking the text enabled you to always have that text for your records.

When you’re in troubled, struggling, depressed, mad, exhausted, do you have records? In the text thread of your own understanding have you locked away valuable verses that you can read or say?

For me, text messages can do a lot. I try to use this positively. I like to savor things. Especially those sweet, caring text that my boyfriend sends. Or those meaningful conversations I have with him, a friend, or a family member. Being realistic, when I am discouraged, or confused, I can easily look at a screenshot of a message my boyfriend has sent that encourages me, or makes me feel better about what I’m doing. Maybe its a girl thing. Maybe its a me thing. I’m not sure, but  hopefully you get my point.

So when you need that something extra, and God’s voice isn’t becoming apparent quick enough, or you don’t have that experience of feeling of His presence quickly enough, what do you do? Keeping a mental note of scriptures that pertain to the thing you go through is important. In those times, that’s where you find your encouragement. That’s where you pull your arsenal from to fight the enemy when he thinks he is catching you off guard. Write things down as God speaks to you. I keep a notebook that I use when I pray, so when God speaks, I’m ready to write it down. So when the enemy throws something my way I remember “no, God you said this was going to happen and I know Your Word won’t return to you void.”

Take the time as you begin to form the habit of reading and praying more, try to retain as much as possible. Be aware of the voice of God, and “lock in” those revelations He shares with you, this is how you will be able to encourage yourself when it “feels” like God is far away.

Spiritual Wealth: Invest

Being a 24 year old who came from a single parent family, one of my biggest fears was, and still is, struggling financially. Don’t get me wrong, I understand every now and again funds may get tight, kids may need these expensive uniforms for the sports you don’t want to tell them they can’t participate in, or the new tires you knew you needed actually need to be bought, Christmas, a holiday that comes every year yet always seems to take the finances by surprise, is again upon us. I get all of these things. I’m talking about on a consistent, live pay check to pay check basis, struggle.

That being said, I am always looking into the best ways to invest and keep the income I make in order to not only uphold the standard of life I have come to enjoy, but to also prepare myself for the future. I save, pay down debt, and try to invest or find ways to obtain multiple streams of income without forfeiting a large sum up front. (I don’t want to be aggressive, just smart.)

But how do I, or you, invest in our own spiritual wealth. How does our spiritual well being line up with our need for financial stability?

Investment requires a little sacrifice, patience, and consistency. God requires the same things:

Sacrifice: Outside of getting up and getting ready early Sunday morning to spend your whole morning, and sometimes some of your afternoon in a worship service, what else are you willing to sacrifice for your relationship with God? Time is the greatest sacrifice there is. I remember when me and my boyfriend first started dating, (I didn’t understand then but since I know him now I understand better), he always equated the magnitude of his sacrifices and investments in our relationship based on the time he allotted me. While at the time I felt like I wanted more, it was already more than he had to give. But he did it, because he is invested in me, he’s invested in his feelings for me, he’s invested in the goals and purpose of this relationship. Spending time with God, reading His Word, praying more than the Lord’s Prayer can be a huge sacrifice for some of us. But the return on the investment makes it worth it.

We have more than time that may need to be sacrificed for our spiritual stability though. We’ve talked about how some friends just have to be let go, some jobs we may have to quit, some habits we may have to break. But think of the return on the investment you’re making.

Patience: From my research, get rich quick schemes never pan out for us regular folk. You don’t invest (or sacrifice) one day and then expect your account to have added a few commas the next. Investing requires patience. It takes work, and the ability to not be too anxious for the return you know you will get. Patience has been my biggest struggle, and God’s greatest lesson to me over the past year and a half. Patience requires you to make a CHOICE to continue doing something, even if you don’t see the return yet. Patience requires the strength brought on by faith. Are you willing to give the ten percent tithe to the church this Sunday and patiently wait for the blessing God promises that comes after being obedient? Are you willing to make a choice to read the Word daily even if you feel a little more tired than normal at first?

Consistency: In some areas of my life, consistency is great, in other areas, not so much. So far, I am pretty consistent with blogging. As far as finishing one of the four books in the making, not so much. When you look at millionaires, they are consistent. They invested consistently, even when the return wasn’t great, they didn’t stop learning, more importantly, they didn’t stop trying. In my relationship, we have been consistent. Does that mean we haven’t seen down falls and pits? Absolutely not. But we have consistently made the decision to keep going because we know our relationship has purpose, and we love each other. Investing in your spiritual health, wealth, and stability requires consistency. (Well, in what areas Felicia?)

Prayer: God wants to hear from you, not just every so often, but all the time. Just like you (most of you) don’t want to just talk to your spouse every so often, but all the time. God desires conversation with you. Be as consistent with your prayer life as you are with your texting and social media life.

Reading: In my post “Understanding Your Spiritual Ear” I talked about learning the voice of God through learning His character. His character is in His Word. I am an avid reader. Not just of the Bible, but of books in general. (I’m a nerd at heart). Reading not only excersises the brain, it also presents more knowledge and understanding. Read your Word, practice that first, but invest in your personal education. Read a book on a topic your passionate about or the ministry area you want to grow in.

Worship: Be consistent in your desire for and to worship. At the end of the day no you won’t always feel like lifting your hand, singing a song, hugging someone, or even getting out of your bed. But do it. Consistently commit to presenting these acts to God so He sees your commitment and belief in His goodness.

Faith: While there are so many areas you should be consistent in, the last one I want to talk about is the area of your faith. When you’re facing a new situation, practice being consistent in trusting God to fix it until the end. The act of practice affords you the opportunity to grow and build a new, higher, level of faith in God that will comfort you in the next storm.

Take the time today to being a habit of investing. Investing in your spirit is less frightening than making a decision to invest your finances. It is also much more rewarding.