How to Let God’s Love Shape Your Life

Jonathan Sherwin

April 15, 2024

God desires to shape our lives! He loves us so much that He longs for us to become the fullness of all He created us to be! One way He helps us fulfill this is through spiritual disciplines empowered by His limitless love for us. Let's discover together how to let God’s love shape your life through eight spiritual disciplines.  

When I was in High School, I was a three-sport athlete. I was also 6’3” and 165 pounds soaking wet. I could eat and eat, and due to my metabolism, I could never gain weight. But, when sports passed me by, and I kept eating like I did in the past, I quickly gained weight, and a lot of it. A few years later, I found myself at almost 250 pounds and way out of shape.  

While I was on a mission trip traveling through the jungles of South America, I contracted a parasite and began to lose weight in an unhealthy way. This woke me up and motivated me to love myself enough to do something about the unhealthy weight. So, I sat down, made a plan, and determined to the best of my ability to stick to the plan. For the next year, I disciplined myself, intentionally, because I loved myself enough to put in the hard work required. I woke up early, ate to my regime, worked out, did cardio intensely, went to bed early for needed rest, and so on. By the end, I had lost 55 pounds, was in the best shape of my life, and felt better than I ever had.

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES  

Spiritual disciplines work much the same way, except that we are empowered by God’s love for us! It is impossible to build healthy disciplines into our lives if we do not let ourselves be loved by God. Do you know God desires for His love to build disciplines into your spiritual life? These disciplines are called “personal spiritual disciplines,” and He uses them to teach you how to let God’s love shape your life.  

Donald Whitney, in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life wrote, “The Spiritual Disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  

Letting God’s love propel us into spiritual growth and holiness should be a desire and practice we have as believers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:14).  

YOU CAN BE INTENTIONAL TO LEARN HOW TO LET GOD’S LOVE SHAPE YOUR LIFE:

1. READING THE BIBLE TO BE CHANGED BY GOD’S LOVE

If you want to grow spiritually and begin to learn how to let God’s love shape your life into the person He created you to be, you must first develop a great desire to get up-close to God through His Word! But remember, we do not read the Bible to check a box, we read the Bible to be changed by God’s love! If you want to be changed by God’s love, if you want to become more like Jesus Christ, discipline yourself to read the Bible and be changed by God’s love, every day.  

  • Luke 11:28: “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (ESV).
  • Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (ESV)

2. PRAYER + FASTING

There are so many examples and calls throughout Scripture that exhort us to pray and fast. Just a few from Jesus and others are found in: Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:6, Matthew 6:7, Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:9, Luke 18:1, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. One of the greatest God-shapers we have in our life is to commune with God in prayer. Through His great love for us, God desires to communicate with us, shape us, and to bless us. By faith, expect God to hear and speak into your heart through the power of His Spirit. No matter how weak or strong your prayer life is right now, you can learn to grow even stronger in His love:

  • You can pray through Scripture.
  • You can pray by listening to God. 
  • You can pray models of prayer (like PRAY = Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield).  
  • You can pray for others.  
  • You can pray with others. 

3. WORSHIP

It is the privilege of God’s people to worship their Creator (Psalm 95:6). We become more like our focus. We imitate what we think. And, when you begin to model a life of worship, you are becoming more like Him! You are learning how to let God’s love shape your life into that of a true worshipper in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). Worship must first take place from the love being shaped in our heart. If the external expression of worship comes from anywhere but a heart of love, it’s not worship. 

  • Would you stop right now and let God’s love shape you through worshipping our King?
  • “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Psalm 95:6

4. SERVING

Another great blessing in learning how to let God’s love shape your life is to give what He has done and is doing in your life away! Jesus’ ministry was to serve, and He modeled how we should serve (Matthew 20:28). As a result, we serve from a place of gratitude because we’ve experienced His love in a way that we want to give it away to others (John 13:12-16). Every Christian is gifted and equipped with God’s love to serve.  Not sure where to start? You can take this Spiritual Gifts Test right now!

5. STEWARDSHIP WITH PURPOSE

You can also learn how to let God’s love shape your life through the discipline of giving. God will lead you to give of your time, your talents, and your treasures. One way to know how much God has and is shaping you is to see how much you actually give to Him. Your time, your talents, and your treasures represent what God has blessed you with. How we use them reveals who we are in Him; our priorities, our values, and our heart. How much we give to God reveals how much we trust Him and His love for us (Mark 12:41-44). 

6. SILENCE + SOLITUDE

When is the last time that you just sat still and quiet and talked to God, reflecting on His love for you? Forge founder Dwight Robertson calls these DAWG moments, or “Date Alone With God” times. Some of the greatest God-shaping moments in my life have been when I removed myself from the hustle and bustle, got away from noise, and just sat alone with Jesus for an unrushed time. Many people call this “Sabbath” time. Jesus modeled it for us. It was His habit. We should make it ours. If Jesus needed to get alone with the Father regularly, I need to as well. So, go on a date, encounter God, and learn how to let God’s love shape your life! 

7. JOURNALING + LEARNING

If Jesus is the Master Teacher of God’s love, I need to be the master student. Journaling for the sake of learning is a beautiful place to learn to lean in, up-close to God. When we put pen to paper of what God is speaking and impressing through His Word and Spirit into our heart, we visually see God’s love shaping us, right in front of our eyes. It also creates a wonderful opportunity to look back over the years and see just how much God’s love has shaped us!

8. PERSEVERING IN THE DISCIPLINES

Learning how to let God’s love shape your life means we don’t quit. We do the seemingly hard work that is not hard at all once we see the blessed shaping from God’s loving hand on our lives. And that really is the key, letting God’s limitless love for us and our intimacy with Him propel us and lead us into every discipline.

Do you want to learn how to let God’s love shape your life? Throw off everything that could be a hindrance, the sin that entangles, and look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Commit today to let God love you into these personal spiritual disciplines, and see what He does! 

To help you get started, pick up a copy of Forged by Fire: Making Intimacy with God Your Greatest Gift by Dwight Robertson.