Jesus teaches us that the pure in heart are blessed because only they will see God (Matt 5:8). When we are gifted with spiritual sight…to believe in God, to be aware of His presence, to desire His fellowship…we are blessed. But there are times when we do not realise how blessed we are. There are times we think our sight, our sensitivity to God is a hindrance – a burden we would rather not bear. We are tempted at such times, and in times where the demands of our flesh is great, to choose blindness… It is easy at those times to convince ourselves that darkness is the truth, while the light we once walked in was imagined (John 3:19).
It is very heartbreaking, not only for the believer but also for God, when that happens. Falling away often begins:
1. When you fall into sin
The Bible teaches us that there is an ongoing war between the flesh and the spirit with every believer (Gal 5:17). In addition, we are in a continual line of attack by the enemies of God, the devil and his angels, who desire to crush us or win us over to their rebellious side (Eph 6:12). Sin is the easiest way to fall away from God. When we are insincere about dealing with sin in our lives, we give the devil an opportunity to entice our hearts from God (Eph 4:27).
2. When you love the world
The Bible also warns us that FRIENDSHIP, not even love of…fellowship alone, with the world is enmity with God (Jam 4:4). It can be hard to have the proper attitude and relationship with the world, which is concerned more with evangelising them than pleasing them. When we relate more with worldly people than we do with godly people, we reveal our alliance and the true condition of our hearts. We can still fear God, love Him, desire to please Him…but the space we give to the world in our hearts is like the beginning of a cancerous invasion. The world, like God, doesn’t want to share your allegiance. You can’t serve two masters, as you will certainly come to hate one (Matt 6:24)! If you continue to fratenize with the world, it will erode your heart completely…leaving no room for God.
3. When you fall out of love with God
Because you love your sin more, and desire to do things your way without feelings of guilt, you gradually hide from the presence of God. You stop praying, when He continually seeks to convict you of your sins. You stop fellowshiping with other believers, who remind you of the values you once held dear. Your new worldly friends console you. They tell you that your sin is okay. It is normal and natural. Your belief in God was what was unnatural. Now, you can really be yourself. You fall for their lies because you so desparately want to be accepted somewhere, if no longer in the Body of Christ. You love your new found freedom and can’t recall why you ever gave yourself over to be controlled by the Spirit of God.
4. When you face trials and hardship
When things were good, you didn’t lose sleep over the millions in Africa who were kept awake by the rumblings of their bellies. But when tragedy strikes, you struggle to understand that God sends His rain to the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). Every trial becomes an attack on your faith, as God is put to the test. Will He answer your prayer? Within the limits you’ve given Him? Will He make His presence more pronounced in your life and do a miracle to secure your continued reverence? Sometimes, He does. Most times… God fails our tests. Since He didn’t show up when you exercised faith in His ability, willingness and readiness to, you reason that maybe He doesn’t exist afterall… Doubt can set in at this point. However, no one ever did find God by reveling in doubt (Jam 1:6-8).
5. When other believers offend
You know that the walk of faith is a narrow road… (Matt 7:14) You have been warned that there are wolves disguised as sheep on the path to create confusion and discord (Matt 10:16). You are aware too of your own weakness, and ability to err (1 John 1:8). Yet when other believers offend, your faith is tested. As we expect God to be gracious to us, we must also be gracious to others (Matt 6:15). We cannot sentence God or deny Him based on their bad witness, unless we desire an excuse to give up our cross and walk down the wide road instead. Sometimes, we have to separate ourselves from those who are evidently double-minded. Who speak as though they believe but do otherwise. If we remain faithful and hang on to God and trust Him, He will lead us to those who will strengthen us in the faith and help us heal.
6. When religion gives way to doubt
It is easy to lose your relationship with God in preference for religion. Religion, in this respect, is a formula or series of rituals that you believe will keep you in God’s good books, while you can do what you want to do. This usually happens when people are insincere about maturing in the faith or if their faith wasn’t based on a solid foundation to begin with. They may just want to cruise by doing the least that is required to ‘keep’ their salvation. You may look and talk like a believer, but you stopped thinking and believing like one ages ago. Such a person is carnally minded (Rom 8:6).
After a while, the rituals don’t make sense to you anymore. They become burdensome and, naturally, you detest them. You don’t feel the power or presence of God in your life, because you walked away from Him when you gave up your personal relationship. You doubt that He was ever real, but there is now no amount of evidence to take you back to faith. Problem is, it was not on a foundation of evidence that you once believed, but on the revelation of God received by faith.
At each of these times, one is faced with a choice: to continue to walk by faith and not by sight, or to go the way that is easiest… give in to the flesh and fend for oneself. Because faith is intangible, it is easy to forsake. The fact that it is so easily forsaken, without any visible evidence of change, may convince the faithless that the relationship was never real. But a forsaken love never did make the object of one’s love unreal.
Having an emotional relationship with God is hard for all of us. God doesn’t relate with us in the flesh. He does not satisfy our need for sensual connection, instant gratification or predictability. He calls us into a place of discomfort… a place of faith… a place of courage… of expectation and of continual growth. We must rise to Him, by connecting with our Spirit. Very rarely, He chooses to come to us in a way that we desire. It can be hard to be emotional or passionate with such a relationship. But the reward for faithfulness is spiritual growth, insight, strength, joy and life eternal.
It is good to remember that God chooses whom He will reveal Himself to. Many have walked the Earth unaware of His influence. To those who He favours to enjoy a relationship with Him, those who He nourishes as His own children, He does not easily forsake. Though they sin against Him, He eagerly forgives and seeks to reconcile with them (Psa 103:12). Though they ignore and shut Him out, He patiently waits at the door knocking for an entrance (Rev 3:20). Though they resist Him, reject Him, insult Him, He does not leave them altogether. He still watches over them like the Lover of their soul that He is, and send His angels to minister to them, though they may no longer perceive.
God doesn’t give up easy – don’t give up on Him. When it is easier not to believe, keep on believing anyway. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam 4:7). Let the double-minded purify their hearts (Jam 4:8) and call upon God, that He may refresh in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you (Psa 51:10). Do not go gently into the dark. God is with us all, and He has promised never to let us go (Matt 28:20, John 10:28). Wherever His lost have wandered, may they find their way back into His loving arms today. Amen.
PS: I thought more on this and realised I missed a no 7. It has its own article. CLICK TO READ.
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