Romans 12:1-2 (KJV) says: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
God wants our entire lives to be sacrifices to Him. He wants our all to be an offering to Him and His will. As Christians our lives can be much easier if we would just give our all over to the Lord. And by all I mean EVERYTHING. This includes our thoughts, actions, desires, motives, attitudes, talents, resources, habits, problems, your body, and the list goes on. God wants all of you. This is much easier said than done. Here are some major hindrances I feel stand in the way of many Christians strengthening their relationship with Christ.
Influences- Just about all of our actions start in the mind. We think about doing something, then we do it. Sin is conceived in the mind before it becomes action (James 1:15). So often as Christians we end up doing things we know are wrong repeatedly and then wonder why. This can come from us putting ourselves in situations and around people that breed an environment to do what is wrong. Even if we love Christ, if we are constantly listening to, watching, and reading things that glorify and uphold actions and mindsets contrary to God’s will, we will have these thoughts in our minds. Obviously, these thoughts will sometimes become actions. Often times these things may not be as blatant as we would expect. For example, many sitcoms/movies show unmarried couples living together and having sex as ways to reach “new levels” in their relationship. While this is not necessarily “bad” (illegal, unsafe) by worldly standards, we know this is wrong in God’s sight and therefore it is sin. Another major theme presented all around is reaching Heaven or true happiness through one’s good actions or good works; which is blatantly contrary to true salvation which can only be attained through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Maybe we get confused and swayed in our relationship with God because everything going into us is pulling us away…
Time- God wants the total person, including our time. Am I saying that we should spend every waking moment praying and in church? No. However, we should make time to spend with God every day. Reading His word, meditating on it, and praying to Him. We should pray all throughout the day. The Bible tells us to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Even with our other activities we should make sure that our time is going towards things that God approves of. Being idle, bored, having nothing to do gives way for the devil to attack your mind which leads to wrong. Make sure your time is spent engaged in productive activities that are productive and please God. More importantly, make sure you spend time with God especially early in the morning and before going to sleep.
Success- Christians, as well as everybody else in the world, can get caught up in the world’s views of success. We can end up chasing money and living for money, which really is living for evil (1 Timothy 6:10). In other cases we can have plans for our lives that are not necessarily wrong. We may have a certain profession, location, etc. that we want for ourselves. However it may conflict with the plans that God has for us. Then if we choose to do one thing knowing that God has something else for us, then that becomes sin as well. At the end of everything it comes down to one simple question; who do you think has better plans for you; yourself or God?
God has great plans for every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11). After we receive Jesus Christ as our personal savior, we must then continually yield ourselves over to the will of God. Through prayer and bible study we can continually know Jesus more and let Him take more and more control of our lives. Therefore if we let God truly be our Lord (Master and Ruler of our ENTIRE lives), we can walk into the great plans that He has for us and be blessed immeasurably. In order to make this a reality there are two key factors that must be in play here; devotion and discipline. Spending time early in the morning with God gives us renewed focus, vision, encouragement, and direction for each day. Any good and intelligent athlete stretches before working out. And talented singer warms up before a performance or practice. The best and brightest students study and prepare before tests. Before we go out into the world each day we must talk to God! Take some time (at least 10 minutes) to read some scripture and pray in the morning. You will be amazed at how this affects your day. Let’s not forget about discipline. To receive what God has in store for us we must follow what we already know. We must have discipline to stay away from distractive people, places, and things. We must do away with immoral and sinful thoughts as soon as they arise before they grow and thrive in our minds. We must live our lives in the manner Christ has called all Christians to (Colossians 3 is a good example).
John 10:10 (KJV) says: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The more we continue to live life half in and half out the enemy will continue to wear us down, but when we seek Christ totally, He will give us life abundantly (to the fullest!).
- Do I spend enough alone time with God each day?
- What people in my life are helping in my Christian walk? What people are holding me down?
- Does my favorite entertainment source (books, tv shows, websites, magazines) put thoughts/desires into my mind that are contrary to God’s will?
- Are the plans I have for my life in line with God’s?
- What other influences in my life are contrary to God’s will?