In today’s society, it’s becoming harder and harder to go against the flow. Whether it’s because of cultural pressure, or because everything that is wrong is everywhere. Or even because there are Christians who have compromised truth for half-truths, and pressure you to do the same. It’s impossible to protect ourselves (or others) from the evil of sin, but we can do our best to look to the One who has already forgiven our sin. Thankfully we also have an amazing book called the Bible, where we can find truth when we battle the world’s lies.
If you are trying to seek the Lord, I’m sure you have asked or are currently asking, “Why can’t I grow closer to God?” I want to share a truth that I learned and am still learning when it comes to my relationship with God…. >>> Anything that I say, do, or think that goes against God’s desires or puts my wants first creates a wall between Him and I. <<<
I don’t mean that to say that you have to be perfect & spotless to grow closer to God. It’s actually the opposite. God wants us to humble ourselves before Him and just say, “Lord, I’m a broken human and I really need your help. I am willing to surrender these things to you and put you first. Please help me to move forward.”
God welcomes our brokenness. He doesn’t need the best & the brightest, He wants the weak & the humble. And those who are willing to chose to change. Read 1 Peter 5:6-8
Where are you at? Are you in a maze of walls and you don’t know what’s holding you back? Or are you against a big wall that you know what is holding you back from a deeper relationship with God? To be totally transparent with you, I have a few of those that I am battling with. We all have different convictions, but I believe there some convictions that are universal and clearly laid out in God’s word. So here are some probing questions that can help you & I identify some walls in our lives and maybe help break them down.
What do you take in?
This can refer to movies & TV shows, music, the internet, social media, and entertainment in general. Whatever are you taking into your mind through your eyes. What are you watching, reading, or seeing? And does it line up with God’s commandments for us? Is it glorifying to Him? Here’s a tough question: would you be embarrassed if Jesus was next to you while you watching or reading it?
I’ll be real with you, I have felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction about what I watch when it comes to certain TV shows. I’m sure you’ve heard of, or have watched shows like Friends, The Office, Parks & Rec, and so on… These are few examples of shows that are very funny & entertaining, but blur or go beyond the line with sexual or crass content. To be honest, I ignore this conviction more often than I should! This is one of my walls that I need to work on. Do you need to as well?
How do you think?
In consequence to the previous question, What you take in effects how you think. Whether you acknowledge it or not, what you take in does affect your thoughts and processes. Proverbs 23:7 puts in a better light, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ” Thoughts are powerful. They can affect our actions, emotions, and even our health. Plus, God hears our thoughts as well as our words! In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Bad thoughts (temptations included) can be like weeds. It’s so important to kill them while they’re young before they take over our garden. Accordingly, it’s important to nourish & tend to good thoughts. By weeding out the bad, we make room for good to grow.
What do you say?
Again, this is a consequence of the previous question… What you say is the affect what you think. Are you glorifying God with your words? Do you run from gossip? Do you abstain from swearing? Are you lifting others up or tearing them down? Words don’t just effect us, they effect others. You can’t take words back.
There are a lot of verses in the Bible about our words or “tongues” as well. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” If what you want to say is not going to be beneficial, is it worth it to speak?
How do you act?
What you do has a far great impact than what you say– Stephen Covey
Just like a leader or boss that leads by example, you impact those around you by how you act, what you portray, and if you live up to your word. If you profess Christ in your life, is Christ professed in your life? To be honest, I struggle to imitate Christ with people who are frustrating, rude, or annoying. But if I’m honest with myself, most of the time, I’m the one who needs to change. Or, as John Crist says, “Check yo heart.”
Your facial expressions, body posture, and choices can point others to Christ. But it is just that– a choice. Sometimes you don’t feel like it, but just remember that your actions could be someone’s first impression of Christ. Strive to make it a good one!
Who do you hang around?
Friends are more influential than we know. Just like godly friends can point us towards God, worldly friends can turn us away from God. It’s important to reach our world for Christ, but I’ve seen many Christians make that as an excuse to hang out with the wrong crowd. To put it simply, we should get close enough to show non-believers the love of God, but not too close that we conform to going with the flow.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” Surround yourself with friends that will encourage you, rebuke you, advise you, forgive you, and point you towards Christ. And BE that friend for them.
What do you believe?
Do you believe that God is the One and only God? Do you believe that Christ died on the cross for you, and (if you accept it) has forgiven your past, present, and future sin and wrong doings?
All of the previous points are meaningless if we don’t believe that we are freed & forgiven. Doing these good things and avoiding the bad will not get us to heaven. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ WILL. (Acts 16:31)
I hope these questions have provided encouragement in that, 1) you are not alone in your struggles, and 2) you can make a difference by standing out as a light of God. These questions are meant to make you think, “if I am not standing out, I am probably blending in.” It’s not always easy to take the narrow path, but it is good! Following God is not a chore or slavery. It is a blessed relationship that brings peace & fulfillment the world can never offer.