Last week, we talked about what an abundance mindset means. We learned that the way the world thinks of abundance is a cheap imitation of the full and true life Jesus came to give us
Today, I’m sharing how you can have more of Jesus. I know that we always hear about wanting more of Him, but how do we practically do that? I’m going to share that today!
Thrive Bible Study Vault: https:/ashleyvarner.com/thrive
Highlights From the Episode:
Last week, we talked about what abundance means and we learned how the world’s version of abundance really is a cheap imitation to the full and true life that Jesus came and died for us to have. And so today I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how you can have a deeper relationship with Christ and what that looks like, because we hear a lot about that, right?
We hear a lot about wanting more of Him, and seeking Him, and finding Him, but what does that really, what does it mean to practically do that? In real physical terms, what do we need to do in order to have a deeper relationship with Jesus? That’s what we’re gonna talk about today in this episode. I’m excited to share it with you.
Let’s get started. Hey there, my friends, I’m Ashley Varner, your host, and thank you for being here on The Renewed Mind. Again, I am just so thankful for those of you who are returning and keep watching and listening. It means so much to me that you are striving to know God more, to learn how to take your thoughts captive and control your emotions. If you are brand new, make sure that you hit that subscribe button, hit that follow button on the podcast so that you can be notified whenever new videos come out and you don’t miss an episode.
I am so thankful that you are here, especially this week, because I wanna talk to you about a topic that is going to affect you whether you are a brand new Christian or you are a seasoned Christian. And I wanna talk to you about what it looks like to have a deeper relationship with Jesus.
How to Have More of Jesus
Every year, I like to have a word for my year. And usually, the Lord gives me this word a couple of months before the year starts so I can be praying and prepare. This word for this year for me was the word deeper.
I really believed that the Lord was going to take me deeper in every area that really mattered. So what that has been looking like for me is getting rid of the things that I don’t need to be digging in deeper into. So for the things, for me, that have been so important have been, of course, my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with my husband, my connection with my children, things like that.
I have really been enjoying this time of just being with Jesus. And that has, if anything else, this word deeper, it has been between me and Jesus this whole year, and really just seeing Him grow me and His love just really permeating my heart more and more. And so I wanted to share a little bit about what that looks like and how you can do the same thing because really, I believe that anyone who seeks after Jesus is gonna find Him. He says that in His word, He is so faithful that if we are seeking after Him, we will be found by Him.
Song: Make Room by The Church Will Sing
So I wanted to first start off by recommending that you listen to a song, and the song is called “Make Room.” And the version that I like the best is by The Church Will Sing, I believe it’s their original, but I am going to be taking a couple of words and phrases from that song today to share a little bit about my journey this year, growing deeper with the Lord and how you can do the same thing.
Make the Decision to Lay Down Our:
So it starts, and having this deeper relationship with the Lord starts with making the decision to lay down some things. And in that song, there’s four things that came up in their verses. They talk about laying down their burdens, their crowns, lies, and doubts. And so I wanna talk about those four things really quickly, each one.
Whenever we think about giving our burdens to the Lord, what that actually means is saying all of these things that have been burdening me down, all these things that have been weighing on my heart, things that I worry about, things I’m struggling with, I am going to lay them down at the feet of Jesus. And what that means is I’m going to put my faith in action by trusting the Lord with this burden, by saying, “God, this is too heavy for me to carry on my own. I wanna give it to You.”
Sometimes that can be hard, because whenever we lay down this burden, whenever we lay down this struggle that we’re having, we’re saying, “I can’t do it on my own.” And it’s hard sometimes to admit that, right?
It’s hard to say I can’t do something, or it’s such a struggle for me and I need help. I don’t know about you, but I hate asking for help. I would just rather do things myself and I have been working through that the last couple years of asking for help and accepting help whenever it’s offered.
And this is something, whenever you have a burden that has been on your heart, maybe it is bitterness that’s been in your mind, maybe it is pain, maybe someone has hurt you in the past and you have to lay down that burden. It could be worry or anxiety over the status of the country or the state of your child’s school, or what they’re learning, or whatever it is. I want you to know that if you want more of Jesus, you have to trust Him with your burdens.
Another thing that we need need to lay down is our crowns. So this is a phrase that comes from the Bible, where in Revelation, it talks about how the saints will lay their crowns at the feet of Jesus.
I don’t wanna get too much into theology, but whenever heaven happens and we have saints and Christians who are there are going to be given a crown. Basically, it’s all these things that you did for the Lord, like jewels in this crown, basically. And at the end of all this, at the end of all these rewards, it says that we lay these crowns at the feet of Jesus.
We say, it was all for You. It wasn’t for me, it wasn’t for this crown, it wasn’t for these jewels or this recognition, but it was all for You. And that’s something that I think we can do in our lives right now. And we can lay our crowns, our trophies, all of the accolades, all of the appreciation, we can lay all that down at Jesus’ feet.
This is definitely something I’ve also been learning this year, where I have had to lay down. There have been times in my life where I have given, shared, served, and given of my own money, my own time, talents, and effort, and not received the kind of reward, accolade, appreciation, or thank you that I think that I deserved from that. And I’ve had to lay that down at the feet of Jesus and say, it’s all for You anyway. It’s all for You anyway.
If you can get to the point where all of those things, all of those trophies, so to speak, in your life, maybe it’s that promotion that you had or that best mom award. I don’t know what kind of other awards there are, but whatever those things are, and you know what they are in your own mind, those things that you keep up in your mind that are like, I deserved this, or this was my accolade, this was my reward for something that I really worked hard for.
What if we laid all those down at the feet of Jesus right now? What if we didn’t wait until heaven to say, Jesus, it was all for You? What if we said, now, I’m giving it to You right now? Because what that does is it creates a humble spirit within us. So laying down your burdens creates a spirit of trust, right? It gives that trust to Jesus. Laying down your crowns gives that humility and that humble attitude, that servanthood attitude.
The next area that we need to lay down is lies. And we have talked a lot about on these videos and this channel about taking your thoughts captive, but this is something that as we want to grow closer to the Lord, we have to be willing to lay these things down. We have to be willing to give these lies up.
These might be lies about what you’ve believed in the past about yourself. Maybe lies that other people have said about you. Maybe lies that the enemy has told you, lies that maybe you’ve told, maybe lies that you have struggled with, or things that you have told yourself, or ways that you’ve hurt other people, these lies that we believe.
And they can even be lies like, “Well, God doesn’t care what I watch on TV, or God doesn’t care about this or that.” Any lies that are in your life that don’t line up with the truth of God’s word, if you wanna have a deeper relationship with the Lord, you have to let them go.
So where we talked about trust, we talked about humility, this is where the truth comes in. So whenever you are clinging onto God’s word, His word is truth. And if there are thoughts that are coming into your mind that don’t line up with His truth, and I get it, it’s hard. And there’s never a time whenever, I’m not speaking this from a place of figuring it out, right?
We all struggle with this over and over, and it’s something that we’re going to have to struggle with until we get to heaven, But if we can take God’s word and know it and have it so deep in our hearts that if a lie comes into our mind, we can line it up right away with what God’s word says and say, “No, I’m refusing to believe that. I’m laying down that lie.” That is whenever we really experience Jesus on a new level.
The last thing that we may have to lay down is our doubts. This is something that I think breeds a lot of insecurity in our lives. And so as we lay down doubts, we gain confidence. I have talked a lot about confidence on this channel as well.
But whenever we have doubts about maybe if we’ve heard from God or doubts, did I do the right thing? Am I following what I’m supposed to be doing? Am I enough? Do I have enough resources? Or am I doing enough, right? It’s this idea of enough. And so you can have doubts.
And I definitely struggled with some doubts this year about making decisions and wondering if those decisions were right and if I was really hearing from the Lord, but at the end of the day, you have to lay those doubts down and say, “God, I trust that You are giving me wisdom, that You are giving me discernment, and that You will show me if this is the road that I need to go down or not, and that You will confirm this in my heart.
Whenever you lay down those doubts, you begin to have confidence, a God-confidence that swells up in your heart more than anything else that you could ever, anything else that could ever give you confidence. And that’s when you are able to have more of Jesus.
Make room for God
So that’s the first step, is to make the decision to lay down those things. The second is to, once you lay down all that stuff, what you’re doing is you’re making room for God. And this song, the song that I mentioned, it says, “I will make room for You to do whatever You want to.” I love that.
That’s all that the chorus is. It’s just, “I will make room for You to do whatever You want to.” And this is something that is huge for us. And that’s why we have to make the decision ahead of time to lay down all those burdens, and doubts, and crowns, and lies, all those things, because it requires so much trust to say, “God, whatever Your plans are for me, whatever You wanna do in my life, it’s all for You anyway, so I’m gonna trust You to do whatever You wanna do.”
For us, that has really been, we were working on choosing a new church this year, and this took a lot of trust because we were saying, “God, whatever Your plans are for us, whatever You wanna do, do it.” And this was such a journey for us of faith and trust to say, “God, we know that Your way is the best. We know that whatever You are calling us to do, whatever You have ahead of us is better than what’s behind us.” And that’s hard.
That’s a hard journey to say, “I’m giving You everything, no matter what Your plans are, whether or not you tell me what Your plans are or not, right?” That’s the hard part. And so I want to encourage you that if this part gets hard, when it does, ’cause it will, when making room for God and trusting His plan for your life gets hard, keep going back up to step one, letting go of those doubts and fears and burdens, because as you are trusting Him, there’s gonna be now that burden of trying to trust Him and you can go back and give that to Him.
So this is a continual loop of saying, “God, I’m trusting You. Here it is again, I’m laying down these burdens again to do whatever You wanna do.” And constantly going after Him, because being a Christian is less about doing all the little things right, like checking off all the boxes, than it is about having an interaction with Jesus, right? It’s about a relationship with Jesus. That’s what it’s all about.
And so He wants you to go to Him He wants you to come to Him and say, “I wanna give You this burden, but I don’t know how I can do it on my own. Help me to give this burden to You.” And He will do that.
The next step is to surrender. And the part of this song that really stuck out to me was in the bridge of the song where it’s talking about letting go of traditions and religions. And these, I think of, whenever I think of religion, I’m not talking about biblically-based teaching. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about old mindsets or things that have been holding you back from having that deeper relationship with Jesus. So you might be thinking, “Well, you know, I give my money to the church and I don’t say bad words and I go to church every Sunday, and I know that I have a relationship with Jesus because of all those things.” I want you to let go of that old mindset and really let God shake up your life.
In this bridge, it says, “Shake up the ground of all my traditions.” And one thing that I like about that symbolism and just that visual picture is whenever you are shaking up the ground, whenever you are tilling up the ground.
My husband and I have a farm, we have a field, and before he plants anything, he tills up the ground. He plows it under. And the reason he does that is he’s preparing the soil so that something new can grow. And whenever you shake up, that phrase that says, “Shake up the ground of all my traditions.”
All the things that have seemed to me as these are always the things that you do when you’re a Christian, these are always the things that you do to be a good person, I wanna ask God to shake up that ground, to say, okay, maybe it doesn’t look the way it has the last 20 years of my life, but God is doing something new in my life.
And it’s so beautiful and it’s so amazing. And if I didn’t make room for Him to do this. See, each of these steps kind of builds on the next. But if you allow God to shake up those traditions in your life, those old mindsets in your life, what He’s doing is He’s preparing the soil of your heart so that new things can grow.
Then the next line of that says, “Break down the walls of all my religion.” And this is something that was a little bit harder for me because I understand the phrasing behind letting go of religion and it being more about relationships.
I do think that there is some value in religion as far as understanding there is theology and doctrine that needs to be followed, there is a truth in God’s word that needs to be followed, but something that I believe this means, is breaking down walls means letting God’s truth come in.
So sometimes we allow religion to be a wall around our hearts that we don’t wanna get too emotional about Jesus, we don’t wanna get too deep into all this kind of relationship stuff, and so we put up this wall of religion that says, “Okay, as long as I do X, Y, and Z, then I’m okay.”
And so if we can break down the walls of that, what happens is God’s truth is able to come in, it’s able to break through those walls, and it’s able to expose the things that it needs to. So for me, I found that I was focusing so much on the dos and don’ts of just kind of the rules of Christianity that I was forgetting the basics, like kindness and love, right? About being friendly to other people, right?
And so that’s something that whenever God is able to do that, whenever He’s able to break down the walls of your religion, He can come in and expose the things that need to be changed. He can come in and expose the parts of your life that aren’t in line with a deeper relationship with Him. And then realize that God’s way is always better. God’s way is always better.
This is something that I have been experiencing the last couple of months to say, “God, Your way is always better.” And I remember my husband even saying the other day like, “Ashley, you’re singing in the shower again. ” There’s this joy that comes from a deeper relationship with Jesus.
There’s a joy that comes from saying, “God, Your is always better,” and letting go of all those, letting go of the burdens, letting go of the crowns, and the lies, and the doubts, making room for Jesus, and then surrendering those old things and letting Him change you.
And then the result of this is what I think, and this is why I wanted to mention the song first thing, because at the very end of the song, it says, “You are all I’m chasing now.” And I love that phrase, because when everything else fades away, when all the religion, and the tradition, and the lies, and the doubts, and when all that fades away and it’s just you and Jesus, the result is you chasing after Him.
Whenever you do all these things, it’s just you and Him. It’s just you and Jesus, it’s you chasing after Him. And that’s how you get more of Jesus. That’s how you have a deeper relationship with Him. And like I said, I’m not saying all this from a place of I figured it all out, or I just am like so great. It’s none of that.
This is a journey that the Lord has been taking me on and continues to take me on. And I would be remiss if I didn’t share it with you if I didn’t say this is something that you can have too. Whenever we make these decisions to let go of things that we’re holding onto, almost as a safeguard when we let those go, this is what the result is. It’s us chasing after Jesus with everything.
So that is all that I have for you. You guys know about the resources that I have on the site. But really, the best resource that you can have in this regard to have a deeper relationship with Jesus is His word. And so go to His word. And I’m here for you if you need help.
As I said, there’s Bible studies and stuff that I offer, but make sure that you are just going after Him and you’re chasing after Him. I want you to know that I pray for you, for everyone who watches and listens. And I am praying that God just shows up in your life in a deep and impactful way this week.
I hope that you guys enjoyed this. It’s a little bit different episode, but I hope you enjoyed it. And I will see you guys next time.
Have a great week.