Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of six articles on what it means to be a man after God’s heart. This article describes a daily plan that can help us in becoming men after God’s heart.
A Daily Plan for Becoming a Man After God’s Heart
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Our Heavenly Father is seeking men after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), men who will put their faith and trust in him and will seek to do his will and the things that are most pleasing to him. We know that becoming a man after God’s heart cannot occur without God’s grace, yet we still have a part to play. Here are some practical steps we can take each day that will allow God’s grace to flow more freely, so we can truly be men after God’s heart.
1. When you get up each morning, take a few minutes to give your life to Jesus and commit your heart and your circumstances to him. Call out to the Spirit: “Lead me today. Take me where you want me to go. Breathe the thoughts of God into my mind, and heal whatever is not pleasing to you. Help me to see others through the eyes of Christ.”
2. Each day, be sure to make time to be with Jesus in prayer. Talk to him and listen to him. Even when your time seems scarce, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the opportunity to spend time in the Lord’s presence in prayer, even if it’s just ten minutes. As we spend time with Jesus in prayer, we will take on some of his characteristics. We will deepen our understanding of Christ and strengthen our relationship with him, so we can become more like him.
3. Each day, try to carve out five to ten minutes (or more) to read Scripture (especially the Gospels) and let God’s words penetrate your heart. One simple approach is to use the daily Mass readings. Since Scripture is God’s living word, we can expect that he will speak to us directly through it. You will also find as you spend more and more time reading the Gospel that Jesus’ words and actions will often come to mind, as we face different situations in our lives.
4. During the day, listen for the Spirit’s inner promptings. Perhaps it will be a time to just thank the Lord for his love and his blessings. Perhaps he will give you a word of wisdom and encouragement for someone who needs to hear them. Maybe he will lead you to pray (perhaps with others) for someone who needs healing or is going through a difficult circumstance. Maybe he will lead you to visit someone who is lonely or needs some prayers. Maybe he’ll lead you to a specific Scripture passage to feed your spirit.
5. Every night, just before bed, examine your day. Thank Jesus for all the blessings he gave you. Thank him for the grace he gave you to do his will. Repent of any opportunities when you chose not to do his will. Ask him for forgiveness from any sin.
6. Receive the Eucharist as often as you can and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly. Through the graces of these sacraments, you will be strengthened and transformed as you receive the very life of Jesus and experience his forgiveness.
7. If you don’t already have it, ask the Lord to help you find a trusted brother in Christ, or a group of brothers, that you can share your life with, and with whom you have a certain level of accountability. Their support and prayers will make a huge difference in your becoming a man after God’s heart.
As you begin to take these steps, you will be allowing Jesus to rule more and more fully in your heart and mind. You will find that your heart will desire more and more of the things that Jesus desires, and you will be filling your mind with his thoughts. The devil will have a difficult time finding an entrance or weakness to exploit. Instead of breaking through your defenses and moving you away from doing the things that are most dear to the heart of God, the devil will run into Jesus, the “stronger man,” standing guard. Then every day you will find that you “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Lord Jesus, I invite you to establish your throne in my heart every day so I can be a man after God’s heart.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. At the beginning of the article, we hear these words, “We know that becoming a man after God’s heart cannot occur without God’s grace, yet we still have a part to play.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement. Why? What part do you believe God is calling you to play?
2. In what ways can the steps listed above help you to be a man after God’s heart? Are there any that you think are not practical right now for your life? Are there any additional steps you would add or delete?
3. In becoming a man after God’s heart, how important do you believe it is to have “a trusted brother in Christ, or a group of brothers, that you can share your life with, and with whom you have a certain level of accountability”? What has been your experience?
4. Develop a daily plan for yourself. Are there at least two or three steps that you are willing to commit to each day during the next few weeks? Come prepared to share the fruits at your next men’s group meeting.
5. What additional steps can you implement in the future as part of your everyday life (over and above those previously identified)? What impact do you expect these additional steps to have on helping you to be a man after God’s heart? At a future men’s group meeting, share the impact these additional steps have had on you.
6. If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another for the grace to be faithful to your daily plan and the grace to be men after God’s heart.