Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Four Most Important Things

One of the themes of my life has been what I call "the four most important things." I believe that these things are all essential to a successful life. You cannot grow and succeed as a human, and certainly not as a Christian, without these four elements in your life.

Careful attention must be paid to each one. There is not one that is more important than the others. Likewise, you should not try to start with only one of these things. You must jump in with both feet and get a little bit of all of them.

The Bible is full of admonitions and examples on each of these things. History is full of accounts of people whose lives are enriched by these four items. You will find the same to be true for you.
  • Bible study. Even if you are not a Christian believer, the Bible is the greatest piece of literature ever produced. Western civilization has been formed by the stories and teachings of the Bible. Whether this (USA) is a Christian nation or not, it is hard to understand our history and culture without a basic knowledge of the Bible. And for the Christian it is even more important. To know God, you must know what is in his book.
  • Prayer. No one should be without prayer. There should be time everyday devoted to prayer. In prayer we build a relationship with God, even as we get in touch with ourselves. Prayer is not a recitation of our wish list for God to fulfill, but a way for us to establish communication with someone greater than ourselves.
  • Fellowship. It is important that people spend time with one another. Humans were built to be in relationships. We are social beings. Christians, especially, need the support that can only be gained from other Christians. Surround yourself with like-minded people when you need to accomplish something (a team), or overcome something (support group, 12-step group). Fellowship is crucial.
  • Ministry. Take all of the good stuff in your life, and share it with someone else. The only way to survive is to reach out to others. Feed the hungry. Care for the sick. Shelter the homeless. Clothe the naked. You will be surprised at how much you gain from doing just a few simple things for someone else.

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