What Destroys Our Walk With God?

Have you fallen into bad spiritual habits? I know I have. It seems that the daily grind of modern society takes a toll on the way I want to live my life.

The fact is that God has equipped us with everything thing we need to live victoriously, but many people miss out on these things by falling into habits that disconnect them from God’s power, perspective and presence.

The first step to overcoming any habit or obstacle is to identify it. Give yourself a check up and prepare to transform your spiritual walk by recognizing some common enemies for spiritual growth.

  • Laziness -failing to do what’s right is just as bad as doing what’s wrong.
  • Old Habits -responding to Christ’s forgiveness means giving up our old ways.
  • Ignorance –acting like a believer is not en.
  • Irresponsibility -losing God’s love is impossible, but believers can miss out on the privileges of obedience.
  • Discouragement -persevering in our walk requires prayer.
  • Comparison -highlighting our own strengths while criticizing another’s weaknesses is ungodly.
  • Indifference -neglecting the needs of others ignores Jesus’s example.
  • Contempt –rejecting Jesus’s authority invites God’s judgement.

1. The habit of laziness: failing to do what’s right just as bad as doing what’s wrong.

Jesus told of a parable about a wealthy businessman who entrusted three employees with managing vast soles of money while he was away. The an amount of money was assigned to each employee which was determined by their capabilities. For example let’s say one was trusted with $ 500.000 another with $250.000 and the third with $100.000. When the business man returned from his trip two of them employees doubled their money, and each received the same praise from their boss, “Well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21-23). The third employee however neither gained money or lost money. He didn’t take any money for himself but gave an honest accounting when his boss returned . The man had buried the money and dug it up when his boss returned. To say the least his boss was not impressed. He called the employee ”wicked and lazy” and he turned the money over too e of his other employees (Matthew 25:26-28).

The amount of money given to each employee was not the point of this parable. Even the unprofitable employee was trusted with a lot of money while his boss was gone. The boss’s only concern was how each one handled the money given them. The two “good and faithful” employees received substantial amounts of money, but he commended them equally for their gains. Meanwhile the “wicked and lazy”assessment of the third employee was based on a lack of effort. The employee didn’t even deposit his money into a bank to earn interest.

This story illustrates our responsibility to take care of the Lord’s business while He is away. He entrusted the management of Hid affairs to each of us in varying amounts. One day, He will return and conduct an accounting of every resource He has given us – our health, our spiritual gifts, our reputation, our abilities, our time, our learning. Every resource we possess belongs to Him (Corinthians 6:29) In Jesus’s story it doesn’t matter how many resources we receive, what matters is how faithful we are with what He has given us.

2. The Habit of habits: Responding to Christ’s forgiveness means giving up your old ways.

In John 8:2-12, a woman who had been act of adultery was brought before Jesus by a group of religious leaders who were trying to trap Him. They tried to create a no-win situation that they would either put Jesus add odds with the laws of Rome or the Law of God. As the men pressed Him to judge the woman, Jesus stated that whoever was “without sin” should be the first one to stone her (The Laws in Rome at the time was that she be stoned to death). Realizing their trap had failed, the men left one by one.

When the religious leaders had left, Jesus asked her. “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She replied, “No one Lord.” Now there’s a detail here we need to understand. Earlier in the story, the men had called Jesus “Teacher,” but this woman called Him “Lord” while that may not sound important, but, 1 Corinthians 12:3 says that no one can call Jesus Lord, “except by the Holy Spirit.” So before this conversation, something had to have happened in the woman’s heart that caused her to understand who she was speaking to. That change of heart prompted Jesus’s response, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Don’t miss the importance of this. Jesus did not tolerate her sin, He forgave her because she was repentant. 1 Samuel 16:7 says. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Only God can evaluate repentance. He examines our heart and gauges our sincerity before our actions have time to catch up with our words. Once we accept His forgiveness, it becomes our job to go and live a life that honors the One who has given us so much.

Repentance is not a one-time activity. Temptation exists all around us, so we must make a habits of searching our own heart for sin and turn away from it. 1 John 1:9 promises us, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Once we have been washed clean by Jesus, and replace our sinful habits with virtuous habits we are able to start walking with God.

3. The habit of ignorance: Acting like a believer is not enough.

We are living in a world where outward conformity to religion is sometimes substituted for the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. It is possible to look and act like a believer, to talk and even sing like a believer and not be a believer. Some people spend a lot of time surrounded by believers without even really knowing who Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The requirements of believing In Christ and living our life in Him are simple to understand but hard to live out.

Studying the Bible is one of the best ways to know what is expected of us. Jesus gave us a starting point when He said the most important commandment is to “love the Lord you heart with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). From there, it becomes our job to plummet into the Bible, every book, every chapter, and every verse of Scripture. Then armed with that knowledge, we must examine our hearts and test our devotion.

Another key to walking with God is the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know the Christ is among you, if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” One test of genuine faith is what I call the automatic sin alarm system. Do you have one of those? It’s sometimes called a conscience, and it is powered by the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit is in your heart, He is going to make it very difficult for you to be comfortable with anything that violates God’s Law.

Don’t settle for ignorance. Study the Bible and listen for the Holy Spirit as you commit your life to knowing the will of God. In society today so many have blocked the Holy Spirit out it’s in some it’s very hard to see that they have Him. But I reassure you He is in there somewhere.

4, The habit of irresponsibility: Losing God’s love is impossible, be many miss out on the privileges of obedience.

Jesus’s parable about the Prodigal Son has been called the crown and the pearl of all parables. In parable, God is portrayed as a loving father who yearns for Him son (us to return home). When they boy finally comes to his senses and returns to his fathers house, he receives compassion and forgiveness far beyond what he deserves. It’s a beautiful picture of how eager God is to forgive, but it also reminds us of the many blessings we give up and wander away from God (our Father).

We don’t have to waste our fortune on wild living to remove ourselves from God’s protective care. We place ourselves in peril when we are careless with everyday matters, like our words or our attitudes toward authority. I wasted so much time going through trial after trial and not learning hard lessons because I was stubborn and chose to not accept God forgiveness.. I urge you to let God into your life and start living with the blessings you were meant to experience.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let your heart utter anything hastily before God.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

1 Peter 2:13-15

Speaking and acting recklessly places us outside of God will and keeps Him covering us with His protection. That may be hard to accept, but it’s right there in the Bible. So think about what you actions say to the world about the God you serve. Do you honor God with self-control or do you give people something to talk about? Romans 5:17 says that Adam’s rebellion led to the death of many, but Christ’s obedience on the cross provided a way for everyone to come back home to the Father’s house “to triumph over sin and death.” One person’s actions can make a world of difference. Don’t stay stuck in the habit of irresponsibility, walk in the freedom that co es with spiritual discipline.

5. The habit of discouragement: persevering in a walk with God requires prayer.

If you even look at the news today, you’ll find reasons to be discouraged, but the Bible contains hope. God is in control. When Jesus was preparing for His death on the cross, He assured His disciples with these words, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may hav peace, in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

How could Jesus expections disciples to “be a good cheer” when their hopes and the dreams were about to be nailed to the cross? Because Jesus already claimed the victory, and they knew the One in who they had placed their trust in (2 Timothy 1:12). They knew Him because they lived with Him, walked with Him, and talked with Him. We can know Jesus just as intimately by living with Him in our heart, walking according to His word, speaking to God through prayer and believing in the resurrection power that emptied Jesus’s tomb. He lives in every one of us just sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find Him.

When we pray for something specific we need to ask according to faith and not what we see happening. They disciples failed the test when the underestimated the ability for one man’s lunch to feed 5000 people. Prayer is a matter of faith, it is trusting that God has the power and the desire to meet our needs regardless of things may seem to our eyes.

You may not get an instant answer. Sometimes God allows us to wait for His answer so that our faith can mature. Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Rejoicing over an answered prayer is appropriate, but having the kind of spiritual maturity that allows God to trust us with an answered prayer is even more reason to rejoice. While we are wrapped us in the product, God is wrapped up with the process. He wants us to be the kind of people who can be trusted with answered prayers.

6, The habit of comparison: highlighting our own strengths while criticizing another’s weakness is ungodly.

The Pharisees made a career out of separating themselves from society. They thought they were better than everyone else, and they were co fused about how one is justified before God. In Luke 18, Jesus told story of two men a Pharisee and a tax collector who were praying in the temple. The Pharisee made a pretentious display of his prayer and used it to praise his own efforts, “God, thank You that I am not like other men the extortionate, the unjust, the adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess (Luke 18:11-12). Meanwhile, the tax collector begged the Lord, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Verse 13).

The Pharisee’s prayer gave no indication of his repentance. He thanked God for three sins that he did not comment, He thanked God for one man to whom he could not be compared, he thanked God for one man to who he could not be compared, and he thanked God for two good deeds that he continued to do. In contrast, the tax collector’s prayer mentioned only God and himself. Rather trying to impress God with good deeds, he pleaded for mercy and received it.

When we see someone caught up in sin, it is tempting to feel better about ourselves. But Jesus’s parable shows that these comparisons lead to pride and a false sense of godliness. We need God’s justification, not our own. None of us obey’s God law perfectly, which means we all fall short of His expectations (Romans 3:20).

7. The habit of indifference: neglecting the needs of others ignores Jesus’s example.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a priest and a Levite discover a man that was half dead along a roadside. Preoccupied with there temple duties, they passed by him without even stopping. Later a Samaritan came along and viewed the man with compassion, he stopped to help (Luke 10:30-36). The priest and the Levite were involved in the service of God, but their actions revealed a failure to understand what it look like. Meanwhile the Samaritan, who wasn’t even allowed to enter the temple, demonstrated God’s love to the injured traveler.

Serving God requires putting the needs of others before your own. In Jesus’s parable, the Samaritan risked his safely to help the injured traveler, and delayed his own plans. Not stopping there, he would have allowed the man to die. But he let the travel ride his own animal, and then used his own resources to provide for the man’s needs. The Samaritan delivered kindness at great personal cost to himself.

Compassion means more than taking a passing interest in the needs of others. It requires us to enter into their suffering. Three times in the book of Matthew, Jesus is described as having compassion for the physical needs of the people surrounding Him. (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32), As far back as Genesis 16, God revealed Himself as El Roi, the God who sees, to a slave woman named HagarGenesis (Genesis 16:13-14). Serving El Roi means serving others with compassion.

The parable of a helpless, half-dead man reminds me of how humanity is lost to sin and doomed to death before God sent Jesus to be our deliverer -Our Good Samaritan.

God,who is rich in mercy because of His great love which He loved us, even when we were dead I. Trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceedingly riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

It is possible to be so busy about the work of the kingdom that we lose sight of hurting people all around us. But our goal as belies to love others like Christ loves us. Jesus came to this earth to serve (Matthew 20:28), and He often lavished His attention on outcasts, if we are serious about following His footsteps, we need to replace the habit of indifference with brotherly and sisterly kindness.

8. The habit of contempt: rejecting Jesus’s authority invites God’s judgement.

One day when Jesus was teaching in the temple. He told a parable about evil tenants who made an agreement with a vineyard owner to tend to the man’s crops while he was away. They agreed to pay the owner out of the owners proceeds, but later they refused to honor the agreement. Each time the owner said someone to collect his rent, the tenants would beat the messengers and sometimes kill them. Eventually they even killed the landlord’s beloved son. At the end of the parable, Jesus said the owner would “come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others” (Mark12:9).

Is it enough to make you never want to own rental property, but the story is an about the landlord and the tenants. It is about God‘s people. The owner of the Vineyard is god, then vineyard is Israel, the wicked can’t are religious leaders, and the mistreated servants are God’s prophets, the beloved son is Jesus Himself drawing from the passage in Isaiah 5, Jesus was warning the religious leaders of pending judgment – Israel and it’s related leaders had rejected gods messengers and we’re about to reject His Son.

There are religious people who claim to serve God while rejecting His lordship over their gifts and blessings. They want the benefits without the accountability. We reject the claims of Christ not because we misunderstand them, but because we understand them only do well. The parable of the evil tenant remind us what happens when we forget that we are custodians, not owners of what we have.

Loving God involves a lifestyle of obedience. God expects His vineyard His church to be an accepting, playful, forgiving, devoted, loving fellowship that’s built around Jesus Christ. When it becomes something else, we are in danger of the same judgment as the vinedressers.

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