What Makes The Difference? Part 1 How can I have that great walk with God that others seem to have but is missing in my life?
Ephesians 3:16-19 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
In the last couple of years I have noticed in many conversations with believers, a desire to have a deeper walk with the Lord. What a great day it is when we identify our greatest need. We have a moment of realization that our biggest problems are not our marriages or our wayward children or our sortied addictions, but our foundational relationship with our God. In a culture where we think we can read our way to righteousness, or work our way to God’s will, we can easily be discouraged with our personal joy in Christ (or lack thereof).
The Problem: Identification of the foundational needs in lives
Too often we find ourselves reacting to problems or trials in our lives. Each of us has varied circumstances that we face that we would deem difficult. These circumstances are what the scripture refers to as the trials of life. (1Peter 4:12) So profound is old hymn that states, “every joy or trial falleth from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of love”. We can become so taken by these circumstances that we confuse them for what the main focus of our life should be. For example, it’s easy for the couple that is struggling in their marriage to begin to think that “If my marriage was what it was supposed to be, THEN I could have fulfillment in my Christian life.” Maybe it would be something like “If I could just get victory over this stubborn habit” or “my children need more of my attention, I need to focus on them” so I can finally be where I have joy in my Christian life. Each one of these arguments have been used to accuse or excuse the christian in their quest to find the peace of God in their life.
At the root of every one of these statements is a presumption that we master the circumstance we are in before a relationship is possible with the Lord that would provide the fulfillment we are looking for. In this assumption we forget that we are accepted already in the beloved. (Rom. 5:8 / Eph. 1:6) The problem is not that our circumstances are keeping us from a relationship with our God, it is our prioritization of those circumstances (above Christ) that is destroying our relationship. So often the blessing and trials of life become the reason we live the christian life, instead of the God of those blessings or trials.
Let me illustrate with this thought.
God has blessed me with a beautiful wife and four wonderful children. In the process of time I become consumed with my children’s education or sports activities and am wondering how I can rekindle the fire in my marriage. I love my wife and kids very much, so I get involved in church, because I know that church will help my marriage and it is a good environment to raise my kids. I may even take on a ministry and look like, to an outside observer, that I have a wonderful Christian family. While I drive home from church, I take a comment from my wife wrong and begin to yell at her and I am short with my kids, there is strife that lasts till the morning. I feel guilty for how I’ve treated my family which makes me even more irritable and I long for peace and harmony in my home. My solution? I must not be working hard enough, it must be because I’m not… you fill in the blank. Sound familiar?
An Observation: Matthew 6:25-33 “…Is not the life more than…?”
What if you were not married or had the perfect marriage, could you walk with God? What if you didn’t have children or had model kids that you were immensely proud of, would you walk with God? What if today you no longer had to deal with your stubborn habit, or if you had 100k in the bank, would you be walking with God?
I will answer that for you. NO you wouldn’t. If you are not now, you wouldn’t be if your circumstances were different.
Your answer lies not with what is going on around you, but rather, what is going on within you.
The Solution: So much of the Christian life is getting back to the basics.
David taught his son Solomon, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” What is the Key to a good home? Simple. The Lord Jesus Christ. What is the Answer to security for my life and family? Simple. The Lord Jesus Christ. Cultivating a walk with God is not different than if you wanted a relationship with a friend or relative. My next post will deal with the workings of that relationship.