The Rebecca St. James File:
by Tracy Darlington
Rebecca St. James Shares:
5 Ways to
Stay Close to God in 2010!
"Each of these five points is something that God has challenged me on." --Rebecca St. James
We’ve all been there. We’re on track, fired up for the Lord, with our head in the clouds. Then suddenly we crash and find ourselves wondering “does Jesus really care?” It’s even tougher to stay close to God if you’re one of the hottest female vocalists in Christian music today.
32-year-old Rebecca St. James lives months out of the year on the road performing her pop/rock music for thousands of people throughout the country. A few years ago she began sharing five ways to stay close to God during her altar calls. “I wanted to leave people with something that would encourage them to stay true to the commitment they made,” St. James explains in a cool Australian accent. “Each of these five points is something that God has challenged me on. I mean if I’m going to be talking about it, I’m definitely going to be living it. It’s just a daily thing for me.” These steps work for her, and they’ll work for you too!
DIG INTO THE BIBLE
“That’s our instruction Book for life, His Love Letter to us,” Rebecca says. “Every day when we’re on the tour we have devotions. It’s a challenge to find time to be in the Bible, but it is a very big deal to me. So every day, whether it be backstage before I go on, in the motor home on the way to a concert, or here in the hotel room I set aside the time to feed my soul with God’s Word.”
Can’t understand your Bible? Too many “thee’s” and “thou’s”? Rebecca says, “I encourage people to read The Message Bible, besides whatever translation they usually read. It’s like a paraphrase, but it’s very easy to understand. A kind of ‘in your face’ message.” So find time to read your Bible, even if it’s just five minutes. “If we’re committed to living God’s way,” Rebecca continues, “we’ve got to be digging in the Bible, because otherwise we don’t know how to live.” God’s Word can change your life!
“Never stop praying,” Rebecca emphasizes. “Realize the awesome fact that we get to talk to the Creator of the world! You know, that He listens to us and He speaks to us, and that prayer is a massively powerful thing.” Prayer is a huge part of Rebecca’s life, the easiest of the five steps for her. “I pray before everything: interviews, going on stage, writing, entering the studio, everything. And I always pray at the beginning of the day to commit the day to God. I try to be conscious of Him and offer up prayers, praises, or prayers for other people throughout the day.”
Rebecca and her family have seen amazing miracles happen through their prayers since coming to America from Australia in 1991. “I’ve seen how powerful God is,” she says, her voice filled with awe. Believing prayer should be a non-stop thing, she explains, “We must foster a lifestyle which encourages praying continually for other people, and praying that we’ll have Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ attitude. Continually keeping that line of communication open. Being more God conscious than self conscious. We need to keep that conversation going.”
GRAB ALL THE CHRISTIAN FRIENDS YOU CAN
“We can’t stand alone,” Rebecca says. “We need people in our lives who are going to challenge us and ask us how our walk with God is going.” On the road for weeks at a time, she keeps in touch with a few close Christian friends by e-mail or phone. Like Karleen, her friend back home in Nashville. “It’s so cool,” Rebecca shares, “She’ll talk about something God’s doing in her life, and I’ll talk about something He’s doing in mine. And there’s encouragement and accountability in that relationship. We’ll pray together and talk about different things. I always have a friend on the road with me, too. God is really showing me that I need that. Missing my friends is the hardest part of what I do.”
Rebecca also travels with her parents, siblings, and various cousins when she’s on the road. “My relationship with my parents is wonderful; there’s such a friendship there,” Rebecca says warmly. “I feel like I can talk about anything with my parents. Especially my mom. My mom and I are really close. And my dad too, but it’s a different relationship with Dad. Just a wonderful relationship with both of them. We talk about a lot of different stuff; we can really open up. They give me advice and wisdom. Without my family I would just go crazy!”
Rebecca talks about the importance of having close Christian friends in her song “Side by Side” (the remix version): Friendship is just a massive thing, because you need those people around you. Especially in today’s age to keep you accountable, to lead people, to be there, to lift you up in prayer. We can stand together. We are our brother’s keeper.*
GET RID OF THE JUNK IN YOUR LIFE
Watch what you feed your soul. “If there are things we’re watching, reading, or listening to, putting in our minds that we know God doesn’t want, we’ve got to get rid of them,” Rebecca warns. “We can’t let them hang around or they’ll hurt our relationship with God.” Rebecca doesn’t buy secular music or go to secular concerts. “I mean, not that the music in itself is bad,” she explains, “but the lyrics. It’s the message of the song that I just don’t want to get in my head. I want to fill my mind with things that are going to help me. That’s why I listen to Christian music.”
Music isn’t the only junk we have to watch out for. Rebecca goes on to say, “I heard once that Billy Graham was asked if he could do anything over again in his life, what would it be? He said he would watch less television. And that’s Billy Graham!” Rebecca laughs. “So I just think we can live without television. There’s always something else we can do that would be more encouraging for ourselves or other people.”
As Rebecca sings in this chorus: We don’t need it, ‘cause God has given us our needs. We don’t want it; shouldn’t He be our priority? We don’t need it; Jesus said to leave it all behind. Let’s keep our eyes on things above, ‘cause we don’t need to want to need it. **
GET INVOLVED IN CHURCH
Find a Bible based church where you’ll grow and get fed spiritually. “For us it is a challenge to get to church because we’re out on the road so much,” Rebecca laments. “But when we’re home we definitely go out of our way to be in church. Sometimes we’ll be on one side of America Saturday, and we’ll catch the midnight flight, or the five or six AM flight, on Sunday morning to get back for church. It’s a real important thing for us. I wish we could be at church more.”
Rebecca and her crew occasionally attend a local church in whatever town they’re performing. Other Sundays they have their own church services, since their team consists of as many as 24 people. “This is probably the hardest step for me,” she admits, “just because of the lifestyle we live. You know, out on the road, in a different town every day. But we truly try so hard to be back with our church family as much as we can.”
Being in fellowship is a great
way to learn to share God’s light and
His Love with the people around you. So, if you’re tired of the ups
and downs of your spiritual life, and you want a deeper Christian walk, take
Rebecca’s advice: “The Christian life might not be the easiest
one, but it’s the best one. It’s the most wonderful one. And
it only gets better as we daily pursue God with a passion. God will use us
to make a difference.”
* Words by Rebecca St. James, ©1995 The Forefront Communications Group, Inc.
** Written by Rebecca St. James and Bill Deaton, ©1994 The Forefront Communications Group, Inc.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.