Stock Photo

Sharisse M. Alexander
Sharisse M. Alexander

Are you taking ownership of your relationship with God, or are you expecting Him to do all the work?

This question emerged on my heart after teaching a high school English class. I stood before the class and passionately presented the day’s lesson. Through modeling and discussion, I ensured the students grasped the material presented. My heart overflowed with joy as several students engaged in the conversation. Minutes later, students were instructed to complete an individual assignment. The task would ensure that they could apply what they learned during the lesson.

Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears.

The instructions were clear. The time frame was given. The task was provided.

Nothing happened.

The students knew what to do. Many of them failed to work.

Conversing with friends was more entertaining. The beats from their electronic devices was more enlightening.

I knew if they engaged in the task at hand, their knowledge would increase. They would be equipped to complete greater tasks in the future. It started today! Right now! What I had for them was better than immediate gratification.  I could see their potential. I couldn’t make them change. It hurt.

I wonder if God feels the same way about our relationship with Him.

Practice Makes Progress

Every day we have the opportunity to meditate and absorb the rich knowledge found in the Word of God. As believers in Christ, we attend weekly services and prayer meetings. We believe that it’s important to help others. We are receptive to hearing the truth, but what are we doing with what we learn?

God is interested not only in our receiving of His promises, but also practicing what we already know. The Bible says for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)

As believers, we must take an active role in our relationship with God. We get to participate with God in what He wants to accomplish in our lives. Our lives should reflect the personal decision of our hearts to follow Christ.

Growing in our relationship with God takes action. In order to activate our faith, we must:

1. Eliminate the distractions – Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with someone who was pre-occupied? How well did it go? Most likely you were left feeling frustrated. God has great things that he wants to share with us, but we must listen in order to receive it. We all have distractions – things or people in our lives that cause us to lose focus at times.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, but our enjoyment shouldn’t keep us from following God’s plan. (Psalm 27:4)

2. Extinguish the excuses – I don’t know. I can’t. I will fail. Do you really believe these words? God doesn’t. He already knows what we are capable of doing. We choose to follow His lead. Is there a book that you’re supposed to write? Are you waiting for the right time to go back to school? Do you want to start a business? Believe that you can and go for it! There is more in you than you realize. Take the first step and move in the direction of your bright future (Jeremiah 29:11)

3. Expect to hear from God – What is your attitude about prayer and studying the Word of God? Are your actions based on obligation or appreciation for Him? Is your heart open to learning something new? A student must trust that the teacher is providing knowledge that is beneficial. In the same manner, we can trust that our lives lived on purpose will reap benefits now and in the future. (Psalm 27:8)

4. Execute what you learn – Receiving knowledge without applying it is a waste of time. The true measure of our understanding comes after the lesson is given. Do we reflect on what is learned or do we listen and follow our own plan? (James 1:22-25)

Activating your faith requires a change in focus and a choice to seek God. We grow exponentially by applying the knowledge we’ve acquired. Rather than being a spectator, choose to be a participant.

How will you own your faith today?

This article was originally published on

Sharisse M. Alexander lives in Charlotte and is a middle school teacher and author of “In His Presence.” A graduate of Hampton University, she also received a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Wingate University. Sharisse has worked in Christian ministry for several years and enjoys encouraging others in the Word of God.