9 Crucial Practices for Building Up a Vital Christian Life
Believing into Christ to be born anew and an effective baptism to complete our organic union with Him, are only the initiation of a vital Christian life.
Whether we flourish in the Christian life after receiving the Lord, greatly depends on whether we’re helped to build up certain crucial practices in our daily living.
We’ll consider nine of these crucial practices in this post. I hope that by giving careful attention to these points you will be helped to progressively grow in your Christian life and also be equipped to help others who are new in their faith or lacking the needed foundation for a vital Christian life.
9 crucial practices for building up a vital Christian life
1. Knowing the two spirits and exercising the spirit–1 Cor. 15:45 and Rom. 8:16
After being saved, the first thing we should learn is that our Savior Christ is the life-giving Spirit and that we as His saved ones have a regenerated spirit (John 3:6).
In 1 Corinthians 15:45 the Bible tells us clearly that Christ who was the “last Adam” in the flesh, died and resurrected to become a “life-giving Spirit.” It is only by His becoming such a Spirit that Christ can indwell our spirit to make Himself one spirit with us (1 Cor. 6:17).
Paul says in Romans 8:16 that,
The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.
What a wonder–His Spirit is now with our human spirit witnessing to the divine fact that we are children of God. The experience of such a mingled spirit is the secret to our experience of Christ and our enjoyment of the salvation we have received.
If you want to experience the Spirit’s witnessing with your spirit, take some time this week to tell someone you know how glad you are to have received Jesus Christ and to know with assurance that you are a child of God. I believe your simple speaking will cause you to realize the Spirit’s witnessing with your spirit.
Now we must learn to turn to our mingled spirit and exercise our spirit in everything (1 Tim. 4:7).
Also, to know how your spirit is different from your soul, you may want to read my post on the subject.
2. Calling on the Name of the Lord Jesus
After being reborn or regenerated in our human spirit (John 3:6) we need to learn to use our spirit to contact the Lord (John 4:24). Calling on the Lord’s name not only saves us eternally but also is the secret to daily enjoying Christ’s riches. In Romans 10:12-13 it says,
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him; For “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
It is not good enough just to know the fact that we have these two spirits—the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit. We need to daily practice to exercise our spirit by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus.
The best time to start calling is first thing each morning. Start the day by taking two to three minutes to call on the Lord Jesus from deep within. This is the best spiritual breathing and drinking. Try it and see how rich He becomes to you!
Since Christ as the life-giving Spirit is now with our spirit, His Spirit is the “living water” (John 7:39) and our spirit is the “drinking fountain ” for our spiritual supply. But the button to turn on the water is our calling mouth that is connected to our regenerated spirit where His Spirit dwells.
First Corinthians 12:13 says,
And were all given to drink one Spirit.
But verse 3 gives us a practical way–by saying that no one can say “Jesus is Lord!” or “Lord Jesus!” except in the Holy Spirit. This means that when we use our spirit to call on Him we get watered to grow in Christ.
Try it right now. Just open your mouth and from your deep within call,
“Lord Jesus! Oh Lord Jesus!”
By your calling on the name of the Lord, you’ll exercise your spirit and enjoy the Lord becoming rich to you as your moment by moment supply.
3. Reading the Bible daily
We need to follow our calling on the name of the Lord with a daily practice of reading the Bible. It is the spiritual milk and spiritual food we need in order to grow as a Christian (1 Peter 2:2; Matt. 4:4).
It’s best to build up the vital practice of reading through the Bible sequentially, book by book, every day. Set aside a regular time to read through the Bible, preferably in the morning and in the evening.
If you need help with setting up a schedule to track your progress you may want to try ReadHisWord.com. I’ve been using it for the last 6-8 years and it’s been extremely helpful in keeping me on track with my Bible reading.
I encourage you to set up two 10-15 minute times daily–one in the morning to read through the New Testament prayerfully, then a second time in the evening for the same amount of time to read through the Old Testament. It is not a matter of speed but of consistency.
Acts 17:11 confirms this noble practice saying,
Now these people [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
God’s word in the Bible is the language of prayer and the equipment we need to preach the gospel and feed younger believers. Such a practice is most worthwhile.
This post with tips on Bible reading will further encourage you and the chapter on “Reading the Bible” from Lessons for New Believers by Witness Lee also has much practical help for beginning such a habit. You can read it online at ministrybooks.org.
As far as Bible versions to read from, here is a post that shares why I prefer the Recovery Version for my reading and study.
4. Praying and pray-reading God’s Word
Yet, Bible reading without prayer can become very dry and degrade into merely a mental exercise. So our reading the Bible needs to be matched by prayer. To get started in this vital matter of prayer, here is a post with 10 short morning prayers you can pray to the Lord.
For a more thorough presentation on prayer, you may want to check out the twelve posts referenced on the prayer life page of this blog.
On the one hand, we need to pray to prepare ourselves to read the Bible. On the other hand, we need to match our reading of the Word with prayer in order to assimilate what we are reading.
We can even turn the very words of the Bible we are reading into our prayer to the Lord. We call this vital practice pray-reading the word.
Ephesians 6:17-18 points to this vital practice when it says,
And receive…the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.
These verses indicate that the way to receive God’s word is by means of all kinds of prayer–including petition. This can also include thanks, praise and worship…and again, we need to use our spirit, “praying at every time in spirit. We need to build up the habit of using our spirit whenever we pray.
For help on how to pray-read the word, here is a post with 12 tips on how to pray-read the word to be spiritually nourished.
5. Following the sense of life, the sense of the spirit
Since we are now believers who have Christ indwelling us, we need to learn to follow the inner sense of His Spirit in our spirit. His indwelling Spirit gives us a sense of life, an inner feeling, or inner sense that we did not have before we were saved.
Romans 8:6 says,
The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.
The sense of life has both a positive and negative aspect. When our words, thoughts and actions are according to Christ in our spirit, we spontaneously have a sense of life positively. We have a sense of rest, peace, comfort, brightness, strength and liveliness. Having such a feeling we can proceed with confidence.
However, when our words, thoughts and actions are not according to Christ in our spirit, we have a sense of restlessness,uneasiness, darkness, weakness and pain. These symptoms are like warning lights in a car telling us to stop what we’re doing and turn back to the Lord.
So, from now on, we need to check with the Lord in everything. That is, we need to practice to live, to do things, to deal with people and matters according to this inner feeling–the sense of the spirit, or the sense of God’s life.
6. Building up a morning time with the Lord
After we have learned to exercise our spirit, to call on Lord, and to pray and pray-read His word, we need to build up a daily practice of spending time with the Lord each morning.
Just as the children of Israel needed to gather the manna, the heavenly bread, every morning (Exo. 16:21) to receive God’s supply, we need to come to the Lord each morning by calling on Him, praying to Him and prayerfully reading His word for nourishment.
The God-seeking psalmist testified to this practice in Psalm 119:147 where he says,
I anticipated the dawn and cried out; I hoped in Your words.
Build up a time that you can keep, whether 5-10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. It may depend on your circumstances and your spiritual capacity. The main thing is to be regular and then allow the Lord to grow and expand.
One helpful tip is to learn to go to bed earlier, so you will not find it difficult to rise up a little earlier for your set time with the Lord.
For more help on spending a time with the Lord, here is a post on How to Spend Time with Jesus in the Morning.
7. Participating in proper Christian meetings
If you’ve enjoyed the Lord in the morning, you’ll surely sense the need to fellowship with other believers. The Lord refers to the believers as His sheep forming His one flock. In John 10:16 He says,
And I have other sheep…and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock, one Shepherd.
None of us can live the Christian life well by ourselves. We need to be “flocked together,” that is, to meet together with other believers, the more the better. This was the practice of the early church and it should be the same with us today (Acts 2:46-47).
Hebrews 10:24-25 even tells us that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This is necessary not only for our personal spiritual growth but to fulfill God’s purpose to build up the Body of Christ, the church (Eph. 4:15-16).
Ask the Lord to lead you into the proper church practice that matches His hearts desire and that is according to New Testament pattern as revealed in His word.
For a deeper appreciation of the church according to the desire of God’s heart, I’d recommend a prayerful reading of The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. You can freely read it online at ministrybooks.org download a free PDF here.
8. Preaching the gospel to others
By the above practices we will be richly supplied, but the Lord’s desire is that we would go and tell others of the great salvation that we have received.
We need to tell our relatives, friends, neighbors, classmates and colleagues concerning the wonderful Christ we are enjoying. If you don’t know what to say, you can simply give them a tract or share a gospel video with them.
By whatever means, we need to bring the good news of Christ to others at every opportunity. In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul told Timothy,
Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season.
Such a practice keeps our Christian experience fresh. Luke 15 says there is joy in heaven over one sinner repenting. When we lead someone to Christ, we share in this heavenly joy!
9. Speaking for the Lord with other believers
Learn to be a speaking believer. In 2 Corinthians 4:13 it says,
And having the same spirit of faith according to that which is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak.
We should not only preach the gospel to those outside the household of faith. We should also learn to speak for the Lord at every opportunity. And we should learn to speak the Lord immediately after being saved (John 4:28-29).
We need to realize that proper Christian meetings, as mentioned above, should be for all the believers to speak the word of the Lord to one another and to listen to others speak the word of the Lord.
Colossians 3:16 says,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.
I hope that these nine crucial practices mentioned in this post would not be overwhelming, but a path for progress, not only for you, but also for those whom you would help to grow in the Lord.
If you’ve been impressed by any point in this post, please take a moment to confirm it with a short comment. If you would like further fellowship on any of these points, feel free to contact me via the Contact page.
References and further reading:
This post was inspired by Chapter 17 of The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, by Witness Lee and also by portions of The Scriptural Way to meet and to Serve for the Building Up of the Body of Christ, by the same author. You can read freely read both titles at ministrybooks.org
About Tom Smith
Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!