We are to serve God, not man.

Things are repeated because repetition is key to learning. Read it again, practice often, reflect always, and discuss daily. Love in everything. It's a progressive development to align ourselves with God.

​James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

We must be careful where we focus our thoughts...

​​​​​​1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love.

 “And for those who, standing in the love of God, are concerned about the next generation around them, and about their entry into the full vision of the God of love, the call is to make these matters a subject of serious and prolonged discussion and prayer with those who will lead into the future. Talk openly, regularly, honestly, and lovingly.”  Dallas Willard “the Great Omission” page 102

Those who follow the bible ought to examine their thoughts, understandings, and beliefs which help form faith. We ought to learn God's will and put it into practice. For most of us this means a progressive change in thought and action. Practicing God's will can teach us about God provided we are honest, open to new information, and willing to be teachable. Assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge begins to occur through our inward parts seeking to understand how new information might fit with or even replace our old information. Inward adjustments must be made. Our beliefs and ideas ought to expand and adjust to fit the world we have yet to understand. When we read a passage from the bible that does not make sense, we are presented with choices of how to respond. We can shake our heads, say "whatever," and move on (not the best choice), we can brainstorm to come up with an answer that fits our maladjusted and inflexible way of living (oh God loves me just the way I am), we can ask someone else for their insight (Someone God serving...), and/or we can look for similar passages/words/topics in different areas of the bible to get a collective understanding and meaning. These are just some examples. 

It is necessary to come to an understanding that is true and accurate for our belief and faith to be true and accurate. The evil one lives by lies and deception. We ought to constantly guard ourselves from falsehood. Let us not forget the spirit of truth within us with whom we ought to listen. We are called to seek God by God's spirit within us. We are to align ourselves with God in our hearts and minds. This is an inward experience developed with examination, conversation, study, meditation, prayer, application, reflection and much more.

Solitude, meditation, and reflection are distinctly three different activities that can be used together.

  • Solitude is being alone, getting away from distractions, and quieting ones self. Reducing stimuli (distractions) affecting our nervous system over time can help slow us down and bring calmness. Such calmness can help us problem solve with less pressure or stress.
  • ​Meditation is spending time in quiet thought, examining our thought content, increasing awareness of our thoughts, and making adjustments to align our thoughts with God, 
  • Reflection is thinking about experiences, ideas, purpose, situations, personal reactions, motivations, emotional condition, desires, needs, fear, resentment, love, peace, truth, mercy, and justice etc.

To be mindful and improve our self-awareness we ought to examine ourselves routinely and improve such skills over time. Through regular practice and participation we can increase our inward abilities.

Spiritual participation in biblical principles

  • We ought to practice loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We ought to love others with God's love (love which serves the spiritual kingdom). There are many ways where the loving thing to do isn't exactly clear. Discussion with others can help in many ways. Sharing our thoughts about our experience or problems can bring insight to both the speaker and the listener. A second and third opinion is of high value. Talking aloud to God and others with an open mind and heart is encouraged.
  • Example of self-examination: Practicing patience while waiting in line at the store or in traffic. Being attentive toward our thoughts we might find ourselves complaining in our minds about the experience. We might notice some blaming about how slow the process is or thinking critically about other people. We can pray for guidance, and make attempts to adjust our mental attitude toward the world around us. We can shift our thinking toward something more positive and perhaps pray for patience and peace. We ought to think how we can bring love and peace to each moment.
  • What would Jesus do? End the complaining and criticizing, think more calming thoughts, have faith, try to be helpful, have love and compassion, and if needed look for another line or take a different route.
  • We learn more about God's principles and character each day. Flash cards are a great way to learn new terms and concepts describing each character of God. We ought to understand and think about the definition and what it means. Then we can practice the new character more and more to better understand its spiritual significance. More and more we can see how God's way is a way of power, peace, love, truth, and freedom. Our attitude ought to increasingly reflect God's attributes.
  • We communicate with others and learn from others experience as we engage in God's character. Attitudes are contagious. Our anger affects others. Our peace affects others. As we grow we can improve our ability to choose which character and attitude to perform. We need to be truthful about our inward condition and honestly take steps to align it more and more toward God. Being fake, living a lie, faultfinding, blaming, and participating in false flattery is destructive in many spiritual ways (heart, mind, soul, and community).

​Interrelationships/Community growth and development

  • We get together in a small group, bible study, with mentor, or with spiritual partner and honestly share experiences; like the example above in the store. We share the situation, what we noticed about our thoughts and feelings, the struggle to do what's right (what Jesus would do), what we did, and then the result of the experience. We learn from our poor choices just as much as we do from good ones. We can ask the group or mentor/s for help. How do they handle situations like that? How are they finding peace? What does the bible say?
  • We Confess our struggles with a spiritual partner or mentor. We share our frustrations, wrongs, and attitude we are ready to repent. It will do little good to confess wrongs we have done if we are not ready to stop doing it. This would lead to confessions over the same thing repeatedly. Mistakes happen, but we do our best to be ready for change. We are to be ready to seek out God's will instead of our own selfish destructive will. If we are not ready to repent perhaps praying to God for willingness to give up the activity/attitude might help. We will always have sin in our lives. The goal is to take steps toward improving in God's peace and love, not to be perfect.
  • In sharing with others and building relationships we learn more about our inward condition. We may pass judgement on others, become impatient in groups, think prideful thoughts, become selfish and self-centered in our development, complain about others in our minds, think about what is wrong with the community or group and wonder how it benefits us. All this ought to be discussed to find peace, truth, justice, and God's love in ourselves and the group. We manage our attitude through examination, discussion, prayer, confession, and correction. 
  • Relationships will often times help us to see where we need to grow. If we think negatively about others it corrupts our mind, heart, and soul. Such negativity will flow out from us whether we want it to or not if we keep our focus upon it. If we try to put on an act we sabotage our spiritual growth with the loss of sincerity and honesty. We become manipulative liars and deceivers. This is not God's desire for us. We ought to speak the truth. How others react toward us can often times say something about ourselves and our actions. When we are offensive others can become defensive. Our attitude can illicit corresponding attitude in others. An attitude of sincere peace with understanding and love can have a powerful affect.
  • We can provide hope for others sharing the beauty we experience while engaging in God's peace and love. We share our experience describing in detail the effects of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and generosity. Such actions have tremendous positive social-emotional-mental-spiritual results when done correctly. In our groups we are to become intimate, spiritually close, emotionally involved, and committed. Truth and accountability are necessary. No false flattery or lies. It must be an honest and sincere.

Biblical research and study

  • We understand the truth in the bible which directs us spiritually. The first truth we may want to understand is how to fulfill the greatest commandment. It is the first and greatest. Anything else will simply be a distraction and once distracted we may never get back to the first and highest priority God has set for us.
  • We look at the scripture, think about it, memorize it, feel it, and inwardly understand what we need to do to take action on it. The bible clearly describes God with inward experiencing traits of love, peace, mercy, truth, etc. To make the bible personal we must experience what it says and inwardly explore what those experiences bring.
  • Our minds will conjure up a multitude of distractions, excuses, and lies to keep us from making changes to be more like Christ. We rebuke such thoughts with love and gentleness and accept the struggle of change to let God's grace affect us.
  • We create reminders, symbols, signs, and ask people to encourage us to make adjustments within our thinking, hearts, spirit, and actions to grow toward God. Setting our hearts is similar to choosing our attitude. We can humble ourselves realizing God opposes the proud.

Love and Peace

  • We are to Love God. It is the greatest commandment.
  • We are to Love each other this is the second greatest commandment.
  • Love and peace are the goal God assigns us to pursue.
  • Peace comes from our giving into God's will, principles, instruction, guidance, and care, often times at the sacrifice of our own ideas, agenda, wants, beliefs, and desires.
  • Love covers a multitude of sin, and that's what Jesus did, he loved us to show us what to do.

Our thoughts and hearts ought to always be set toward God who is love and peace. Focusing upon sin, even if we strive to stay away from it, can distract us from seeing God which ought to be our goal. If we guard against sin then sin is what we see. If we seek to grow in God then God is what we see. Continuing in our efforts to increase toward God moves us increasingly away and out of sin.