Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Siebeling's upcoming book, Momentum: Five Keys from the Lord's Prayer to Getting Unstuck and Moving Forward (Baker Books, 2013).
Do you feel spiritually stuck? The sense that something is blocking you from experiencing the abundant life God wants you to live can be frustrating and discouraging. But the keys to creating a forward momentum in your life aren’t hard to discover – they’re each part of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples.
When you apply the principles within the Matthew 6:9-13 they can help you get unstuck and move forward into the life God intends for you, so you can reach your fullest potential. Here’s how you can start living to the fullest:
Live a standout life that honors God. The first key is based on the part of the prayer that says: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Choose to respond to God’s greatness by living faithfully in obedience to Him – no matter what it costs you to do so – trusting that it’s worthwhile in every situation. When you honor God, He will honor you by blessing you, which will propel your life forward in the right direction. Make your relationship with God your top priority, placing it at the center of your life and revolving everything else around it. Honor God with your finances by following biblical principles for how to manage your money (such as staying out to debt, giving generously to charities, and tithing to your church), and then God will give you what you need to keep moving forward in life. Honor God by participating actively in one of His houses – your local church – and God will send you direction, encouragement, and peace to move you forward spiritually. Honor God by respecting and loving the people He has made in His image, and God will work within your relationships with them to open doors of opportunity in your life. Evaluate the condition of your heart and address any heart conditions that need attention (such as a fearful heart, a distrusting heart, a doubtful heart, a selfish heart, a proud heart, a half-committed heart, or a faint heart that seeks to avoid challenges) by praying about them and inviting God to heal your heart so you can honor Him well.
Allow God to change you from the inside out through a process of renewal. The second key is based on the part of the prayer that says: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Every day, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you can approach each decision you make that day with an eternal perspective. Choose what’s best for God’s will to be done in every situation you encounter. Aim to see God’s ways, authority, priorities, purpose, plans, and benefits at work as much as possible in your life, and in the lives of people whom you influence. When you let go of your own agenda, you invite God to move you forward into a future that’s greater than what you can imagine. Ask God to help you develop and maintain a teachable spirit, a willingness to change, and attitudes of wonder, faith, trust, devotion, and gratitude – all of which will help renew you in ways that will keep you growing spiritually. Pay attention to the messages you’re taking in from the people who speak into your life (such as friends and coworkers), as well as from media and popular culture. Pray for the ability to identify unhealthy and false thoughts that enter your mind so you can intentionally replace them with healthy thoughts that reflect biblical truth. Read, study, and meditate on the Bible often so that its life-giving words will soak into your mind, making it easy for you to think of biblical truth when you need to replace false thoughts with true ones. Let go past pain or bad habits (such as worry, destructive anger, lust, or an addiction) that may be preventing you from moving forward into the life God wants you to live now by cooperating with God throughout the healing process.
Break barriers by releasing what God wants you to release so you can receive His blessings. The third key is based on the part of the prayer that says: “Give us today our daily bread.” Since God cares about what we need and want, He wants us to communicate honestly with Him about that often, and trust Him to provide what’s best for us. But in order to be in the right position to receive what God wants to give you, you must be willing to release whatever you’re holding onto that God doesn’t want in your life. Holding onto the wrong things (or even holding onto the right things too tightly) can cause those things to start controlling you, and God alone must be in control of your life for you to move forward spiritually. Every day, intentionally choose to place your trust in God rather than in anything or anyone else. Pray regularly about what you need, expecting that God will meet your needs in every part of your life. Whenever God gives you guidance through prayer, be sure to obey it. When you release your obedience to God, He will release His abundance to you. Constantly nurture an attitude of contentment. When you release contentment to God, He will release peace and rest that will move you forward spiritually.
Live by God’s grace and extend it to others through forgiveness. The fourth key is based on the part of the prayer that says: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” In order to grow spiritually and live to the fullest, you must pursue forgiveness on an ongoing basis – both by receiving God’s forgiveness for your sins, and by releasing your forgiveness to other people who have hurt you. Make a habit of confessing and repenting of your sins to God in prayer. Rely on God’s help to faithfully obey His command to forgive other people so bitterness can’t take in root in your soul and hold you back from the spiritual progress God wants you to make.
Align yourself with God’s plan for your life by pursuing His will. The fifth key is based on the part of the prayer that says: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Always be aware that the evil part of the spiritual realm is at work in all believers’ lives; stay alert to how evil is trying to tempt you to sin and pull you away from God. Resist evil by getting to know God’s Word (the Bible) well, basing your daily decisions on biblical principles rather than on your feelings, and praying for the Holy Spirit to guide and empower you throughout each day. Pursue a closer relationship with Jesus every day, and as you focus fully on doing so, Jesus will propel you forward with great momentum so you can reach your fullest potential.
Adapted from Momentum: Five Keys from the Lord’s Prayer to Getting Unstuck and Moving Forward, copyright 2013 by John Siebeling. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.
John Siebeling is lead pastor of The Life Church, a thriving, ethnically diverse 7,000-member multi-campus church in Memphis, Tn. He is a member of the Board of Directors for ARC (Association of Related Churches), and is a widely respected peer of the other well-known ARC pastors, including Dino Rizzo, Stovall Weems, Chris Hodges, and Rick Bezet. The Life Church has a weekly television program with an average of more than 125,000 viewers weekly. John has 20-plus years of ministry experience, including several years serving alongside his wife as missionaries to Kenya. He has a BA from Louisiana State University and a Pastoral Degree from Gulf Coast Bible College.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: February 14, 2013