By: Allie Joy Hudson
5 min. read
Earlier this year, I was thinking about ways I want to grow. Something I often came back to was the word confidence. Over the past months, a friend of mine helped me to see how vital it is for me to know who God made me to be, to realize the specific ways that God has gifted me, and to run in those things. As I’ve put more thought into knowing the person God made me to be, I have grown in my relationship with Jesus and in my confidence.
This process of growing in confidence and awareness is important for all of us. However, growth is difficult, it takes time, and we can’t do it alone. We need each other to walk through the growing process together, discipling one another.
Growing in Awareness
As we are discipling and being discipled by one another, we are growing to be more and more like Jesus together. We pick each other up, hold each other accountable, and encourage one another to run towards holiness, godliness, and grace. These things are so important, and they all sound great in theory, but what are some more practical things to strive towards as we practice discipling one another well?
Well, discipleship does involve growth, and a huge aspect of being able to grow is learning to have a greater awareness of yourself, your mind, your heart, and of how you interact with God and those around you.
This idea of awareness is key, and it’s something practical that we can hone in on as we disciple each other. I’m going to take a few minutes to unpack some thoughts and questions that we should ask ourselves and our accountability partners often. These questions will help us to better see our need for Jesus and, from that, grow to need Him more and become more like Him.
The following questions stem from knowing that awareness is key. So, what exactly should we be striving to grow in our awareness of? Scripture gives us a few examples of specific areas we need to keep in focus: our mind, our eyes, and our heart. Let’s unpack them now.
Related: Discipleship, Sexual Integrity, and Community
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” What we fill our minds with and allow ourselves to dwell on is hugely important. Here are some thoughts for us to consider to grow in awareness of our minds:
- What do my daily thought patterns look like?
- What are some triggers for me that cause me to get stuck on lustful thoughts? How can I weed these things out?
- How can I best take care of my body (i.e. sleep, exercise) to help my mind be at its healthiest?
- What sort of strategy can I use when an unwanted thought or image pops into my brain?
- Am I filling my mind with what is true or am I listening to lies?
- What are good, God-honoring thoughts I can fill my mind with?
Our thoughts dictate so much about our reality. What sorts of things are you allowing to take up your mental space?
Jesus says in Matthew 6:22-23, “‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!’”
What we set before our eyes is also vital. This can be tough to control in a world where sexual images are literally plastered everywhere. But we can choose what we do or don’t seek out and what we let our eyes linger on. Here are some things to ask yourself and your discipleship partner:
- When I see an attractive image, am I lingering? Why?
- Are the images I am taking in honoring to God? To my spouse? To the person I’m looking at?
- What are my sin habits/triggers to struggle?
- Am I spending a lot of time on the Internet or social media? Is this truly helpful to me?
- What sort of content am I consuming?
- What am I setting before my eyes regularly?
- Am I seeing those around me as people or as a source of visual pleasure?
I love the way the author of Hebrews charges us to keep pressing on, “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” This is the way we can fight the fight for sexual integrity well.
“Above all else, guard your heart, / for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
Here are some things to ask God to help you examine in your own heart:
- How can I process my emotions in a healthy way?
- How do I need help? Am I asking for it?
- How is my relationship with God right now? How am I thinking about the way He sees me?
- Do I have healthy community around me? Are there people I can trust to hold me accountable?
- How is my relationship with my spouse? My relationships with my family? With my friends?
We need to be aware of the state of our heart because so much flows from it. Is your heart truly a “wellspring of life” or are you operating with poisoned waters? Be honest with yourself. Allow Jesus to give you a greater awareness of these things and allow Him to do His transforming work in you.
Our Need for Jesus
As we strive to practice sexual integrity and discipleship with one another well, we need to be keeping the concept of awareness in our minds. Let’s strive to be aware of the state of our hearts, of what we are placing before our eyes, and of the thoughts we are entertaining.
God created the mind, eyes, and heart with powerful potential to honor Him. Unfortunately, Satan and our world constantly bombard these three things with attacks. But we serve a God who is all about doing renewing work in us and who is already victorious over these attacks.
Ask Jesus to make you aware – aware of your sin and fallenness, of your need for help, your need for good community, your need for Him. Be sensitive to His direction, work to know who you are, how you operate, and the person God made you to be. And surrender to Jesus and to His work in your life. Fix your gaze on Him, the Savior who cherishes you.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven Men for two and a half years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.