Relentlessly rely on God. This was something we talked about on the very first day in our session, and looking back on our week, I think it was such an essential thing for us to remember. Good, bad, encouraging, draining, and growing—so much happened. God's work, His love and faithfulness, and His power were so evident during that week. He showed me an even greater extent of His love and steadfast hold on me. He never let us go and was right beside us the whole time, giving us strength to learn and grow, faith and courage to go out and share the gospel, and drawing us nearer to Him.
To relentlessly rely on God, we must start building that relentless pursuit through prayer. Prayer was our focus on Tuesday, and I loved spending a day learning more about prayer. Prayer is the foundation of our walk with Christ. Prayer is how we build a relationship with Him. It is choosing to draw near to God and asking Him to be part of your life. I was really challenged to pray in boldness and with faith. We are to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7) and we are to pray continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” James 5:13
I really liked what Pastor Marcus said this past Sunday: “Lament is a prayer in pain that leads to trust.” I saw that happen in my own life that week. I may not have been in pain necessarily, but prayer in the hard, stressful, or just emotionally/physically/mentally draining things I experienced (not all bad) turned into a deeper trust in the Lord and even praise, which is only possible because of Him.
Our Tuesday evening session was at the park by the Columbine memorial where we had prayed that afternoon. The focus of that session was David and Goliath and facing giants in our own lives. They mentioned five giants that a lot of teens face today. Anxiety, lust, bitterness, envy, and shame. Through what Jesus did on the cross there is victory over our giants.
During our youth group time that night, the guys and girls split up and both groups talked about personal giants. It was such a powerful time of vulnerability, prayer, and victory. I believe that God was working in us that night to help us defeat some of those giants we were facing, and there were a lot of good steps taken. Saying those things out loud, sharing some of the hardships we go through, and telling about the lies the enemy tells us is a step that starts breaking the enemy's hold on those parts of our lives.
We realize that we are not alone, we are still loved and accepted, and that Christ has made a way for us to live in freedom. Sharing about our giants brought us closer together, and we were able to support, encourage, and pray for each other.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
There is a song called Champion by Dante Bowe that started playing while I was writing this and listening to music and the lyrics fit well with talking about giants:
You are my champion
Giants fall when you stand Undefeated
Every battle You've won
I am who You say I am
You crown me with confidence
I am seated
In the Heavenly place
With the One who has conquered it all
There is freedom from shame and darkness in living openly and honestly before the Lord and before each other. Those who believe in Christ are seated with Him and cannot be unseated by anything in this world. Jesus is our champion. He has the victory and the battle belongs to Him. When you commit yourself to Him, He will fight with you and for you, He will guide you to the light, and give you what you need to accomplish what He asks you to do.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
The day I was most pushed out of my comfort zone was our share day on Thursday. Our youth group drove to a park to share the gospel with the people there. I don't think it transpired how any of us expected it to. There were not a lot of people we could talk to, it was hot, and we soon became a little dispirited. However, while we may not have had a lot of conversations, a few of those we did have were really good. Even a few are worth it. It was not a failed mission. We were able to put into practice what we learned and we took a step of faith. That is our job, to step out in faith, share with people, and show God's love, even if it is just taking the time to listen to someone who would be passed by by most people. God will do with that what He wills. I think we learned a lot and gained courage and faith from that experience.
It was a challenging week but also a really good one. We had a lot of fun together and we grew closer to each other. We learned and grew a lot individually and as a youth group. Everything we learned in Denver was to help us live our lives as all-in followers of Jesus. We don't want to be lukewarm. We want to be on fire for God, sharing His love, doing His will, and being His hands and feet. In order to be more fully devoted to God we must be more surrendered. To be more surrendered we must know who we are surrendering to and why. To know who we are surrendering to and why, we must take the time and energy to get to know Him and His will through prayer, reading the Word, and spending time with Him.
“...be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
We must understand what our holy God is deserving of. He is our king so we ought to serve Him.
We were taught that relentlessly relying on God means pursuing Him regardless of the costs, risks, and lack of full understanding. Our faith must be placed in the right place. God is faithful so I place my faith in Him.
“To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless,” Psalm 18:25
He was faithful in the past and He will be faithful again and always.