A Thought From the Intentional Living Center How does what you do relate to your faith? (from a blog by Dr. Randy Carlson. January 8, 2013) The Bible answers this question. It’s God’s Word, it’s true and in Ephesians 2:8-9 He says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV 1984) No one can earn salvation. And, while it is faith alone that saves, faith is never alone. Ephesians 2:10 continues, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV 1984) The way you live your life is an outgrowth or an indicator of your faith.
Ed Stetzer, President, Lifeway ResearchEd Stetzer is an author, speaker, researcher, pastor, church planter, and Christian missiologist. Stetzer is a contributor to the North American discussion on missional church and church planting. We were prompted to invite Ed Stetzer on the program today because of the great track record of useful research being conducted by LifeWay Research. And we were drawn to a particular article from LifeWay that grabbed our attention: Survey: Spiritual Maturity Comes Through Intentionality An excerpt from the article:
Christians on the path to spiritual maturity have a habit of seeking God through prayer and worship – not just in church but also as a part of their daily life as a way to please and honor God, according to a survey released by LifeWay Research. The survey of Protestant churchgoers identifies “Seeking God” as one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. Seeking God invokes the intentional steps a Christian takes to follow Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him. … “Assessing a Christian’s spiritual growth without measures of seeking God would be like picking a flight with the right distance without confirming the destination,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “Spiritual maturity is not an accident; seeking God speaks of intentionality – the believer who desires to know God in a deeper way and strives toward that goal.” “When Jesus invited disciples to follow Him, it was a call to intentionally seek Him, to know Him, and to live for Him. This involves spending regular time with Him,” Stetzer said. In addition to intentional times set aside for personal prayer and worship, churchgoers indicate a propensity for prayerfulness. Three quarters (75 percent) agree (strongly or somewhat) with the statement: “I find myself praying at the spur of the moment throughout the day.” Thirteen percent of churchgoers disagree with the statement. Eighty-four percent of female churchgoers and 66 percent of male churchgoers surveyed agree with the statement. “The point of seeking God is not that He is hard to find,” Stetzer said. “Rather He desires we constantly invest in this relationship and seek to follow Him in every area of life. This requires intentionality and ultimate priority in a disciple’s life.”