When Life Pulls You Away from God

This morning I was reading in a devotional book I have. I’d like to share some thoughts that surfaced from that devotion.

Mark 12:30-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…. And love your neighbor as yourself.

DecisionsDo we truly live our lives by this Golden Rule?

As I was talking with someone just yesterday she mentioned that her mom used to say the biggest time Christians lie is on Sundays when they sing in worship. Consider the hymn:   I SURRENDER ALL.  Do we really?  We probably mean:  I SURRENDER __________.  I SURRENDER SOME.  I SURRENDER ALL – maybe but probably not.

If we lived out Mark 12:30-31 as followers of Christ, truly lived it out, our church would be different; this city would be different; our state would be different; our nation would be different.

We get into trouble when in our infinite wisdom we make substitutions for God’s truth. Substitutions are NEVER as good as the real deal, no matter how good the imitation. Consider butter. I use this “light margarine” stuff on my toast because it’s half the calories and tastes OKAY. However, the taste, texture and look is not nearly as good as BUTTER. Substitutes are usually not.

How do we possibly think that we can substitute our reasoning for God’s? Usurping His Word. Picking and choosing what we will follow. That reasoning is a recipe for disaster and that is exactly what the modern church has done. Little by little we have elevated our enlightened reasoning above what God’s Word instructs. “Surely God didn’t mean that?”  Whatever “that” is.  You fill in the blank.

The author of the devotion I read this morning shared a wonderful quote from an unknown source.

The rule that governs my life is this:  ANYTHING that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I MUST, as a Christian, TURN AWAY from it.

What a wise understanding of Mark 12:30-31. How convicting? Will I only be convicted and go no further today or will I seek God’s help and discernment to start the process of changing my attitude? Attitude change will lead to an action change.

If our prayer life is suffering; if we don’t hunger for God’s Word like we once did; if we lack our zeal for worship or for serving in our ministry areas – guess whose fault that is. It’s not our Bible Study leaders or pastors. It’s not someone at church who hurt our feelings. It’s not that family member who has been such a pain lately. Guess who – yeah, as hard as it is to admit it is the person who stares us in the mirror each day. We can try to excuse it away, placing the blame elsewhere, but ultimately it’s our drifting away from a close relationship with God that has gotten us in this malaise. We have “substituted” other things (some even good things) for the BEST thing – an obedient walk with Christ.

If it dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work (service) difficult, it is WRONG for me. What then do I do?  I can’t just confess it and move on, although confession is the first step. The second step is repentance – turning around and going the other direction. Confession makes us feel better but if that is all that happens we are still in the same mess. With God’s help (through His Holy Spirit) we need to TURN and take a step in a new direction!

I needed this reminder today. Maybe you did also.

Keith Pate About Keith Pate

Keith is originally from Castleberry, AL in Conecuh County. He joined Eastern Hills as Minister of Music in January of 2005 from Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine, FL.