Watch That Last Step, it’s a doozie!


wylie_Help One of the things I struggle with is small compromises.  I have a trend, I start out strong, reading my Bible, praying and trying to do God’s will.  Then, slowly but surely, I start to drift away.  I get lax on my Bible reading, I forget to pray, I stop looking for God in my daily life.  Invariably this eventually leads to compromise.  Soon, I’m just going through the motions.  God seems as distant as the sun in the sky and just as unreachable.  This process takes time, a year, maybe two years, but never-the-less, it seems to be a constant cycle.  We all struggle.  We all take a step or two forward and a step or two back, but eventually I seem to take several steps back and like Wylie E. Coyote, I look down and nothings under me and it’s a long way to the bottom.

For years I have tried to figure out why I do this.  Why am I on this merry-go-round?  Well, I may have part of my answer.

I am reading a book by Charles Stanley called “LANDMINES In the Path of a Believer”.  I am on the chapter about the landmine of Compromise.  In it he lists and explains several reasons we compromise.  The one that hit home for me was the need for acceptance.  I thought I was over this.  But apparently I am not.  When I read it a light clicked on in my head.  The Holy Spirit spoke directly to my heart and basically said, “No, you’re not over this.  It’s still there behind your facade.  It waits to jump up when you aren’t looking.  I want it gone, I want you to KNOW that the only person that needs to accept you is Me.”  Granted it wasn’t in such concise words, but that was the gist of it. 

A little background.  I have a skewed sense of God.  I get it from the way my Dad was when I was a child.  This is NOT a rant against him.  I love and respect my Dad.  We have a great relationship and he is a great Dad and Grandfather to my kids. 

Before he became a Christ-Follower he was never there.  He worked 80+ hours a week (not an exaggeration) and when he was home he rarely spoke to us kids, at least that’s the way I remember it.  My Mom was who we talked with and who we asked permission to do things from.  Dad was there when Mom said, “Shawn needs a spanking.”  I don’t remember my Dad expressing love and pride in me very much.  Maybe he did, but I don’t remember it.  Not many hugs or “I love you”s.  He was a very unemotional man.  This is where I got my view of God.  God is our Father and our views of our earthly Dad’s cross over into our views of our heavenly Dad.  When I think of God, I picture an unemotional, distant, gone a lot, kind of God.  While this is completely the opposite of God it is hard to get my heart to accept it.  My mind get’s in the way. 

Top that off with not being in the “in crowd” in school for most of my life and you find a 34 year old man who has been a Christ-Follower for 29 of those years and still struggles with acceptance from God.  This in turn flows over into looking for acceptance from others.  This continues into seeking acceptance by trying to fit in with those at work.  So I struggle with swearing, I struggle with inappropriate jokes, I struggle to share my faith.  I struggle with standing up for my ideas and beliefs. 

All these small compromises eventually lead to bigger and bigger ones until I am standing in mid-air looking down and thinking, “This is gonna hurt!” 

So what’s the answer?  How do I change?  How do I get my heart to agree with my head on it’s view of God? 

Here is a quote from Charles Stanley’s book,

“Ask yourself, Do I want to be accepted by a group of people who could love me today and not tomorrow, or by an eternal, loving, heavenly Father, Who loves me with an everlasting love?”  The answer is simple, There is no greater acceptance than God’s acceptance.  Anything else is many times less than the best.  When you make a commitment to be the person He has designed you to be, you will face some challenges.  Rest assured, you won’t face a single one alone.”  Charles Stanley,  Landmines In the Path of the Believer

Which is all well and good, but it is also way easier typed than done.  It’s the doing part that gets me.  I have to make sure I am focusing on the small compromises.  Ensuring  I don’t start back down that road.  My main prayer my whole life has been that I would see God as He really is and not as I think He is.  I want to be able to have a close relationship with Him.  Reading and meditating on God’s Word has helped.  I am closer to seeing the true God than ever before, but I still have a long ways to go.

28 For the LORD loves the just
       and will not forsake his faithful ones.  (Psalm 37:28 NIV)


9 This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.  11 Dear friends, if God loved us that much we also should love each other. (1 John 4:9-11, New Century Version)


 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, New Century Version)


God loves me.  He also loves YOU!  Maybe that is the first time anyone has ever told you that.  Maybe it is the millionth time but this time it finally made sense.  The fact is that no matter whether I believe He loves me or not, He does.  He never stops.  He never leaves and He never ignores.  I have felt that love many times before and it is amazing.  Why do you think I want so badly not to fall backwards this time?  I have it now, I want it forever.  I want nothing to come between myself and God. 

Maybe you have never felt the love of God but right now you are reading this and you hear a faint whisper in your heart.  A simple longing to feel loved, cared for.  This small spark of hope burned just a little brighter when you read about my struggles, that you weren’t alone after all.  My friend, you are not.  There is a God out there that loves you, He loves you so much He sent His Son Jesus to die for you so that the love you crave can be yours.  So that the emptiness can be filled, not by temporary things, but permanently, once and for all. 

If that is you today and you are ready to grab the Love, the Acceptance, and the Assurance that God is with you, it is quite simple.  Notice I didn’t write that it is easy.  It is simple in the fact that all you need to do is accept it but it is not easy in the respect that you have to give up control of you.  You can’t be first anymore.  God has to be first.  Putting Him before “self” is hard, but it is so worth it. 

Now, I want you to understand that simply saying a prayer does not “save” you.  Saying the prayer below has no more power to save you than saying, “I want to be a fairy” will make you a fairy.  It is the intent and faith of your heart that saves you.  Only putting your faith and trust in Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins and believing that He was raised from the dead three days later and that He is the ONLY way to get a relationship with God, will save you.  The below prayer is just a way of putting all that into words and telling God that that is your decision.  There are no magical words to get into heaven.  You either believe and accept Jesus or you don’t. 

The biblical method of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ.  Going to church doesn’t save you, reading the Bible doesn’t save you, being christened doesn’t save you.  Salvation only comes by faith in Jesus.   John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life.” Salvation is gained by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), by receiving Jesus as Savior (John 1:12), and by fully trusting Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), not by reciting a prayer.

So what do you think?  Are you ready to find peace, joy and Love?  Simply believe what we read just a second ago and pray this prayer,

Jesus,

  I need you.  I need Love.  I need acceptance.  I don’t want to be empty anymore.  I accept your offer of forgiveness and I ask You to be in charge of my life.  I don’t want to be the boss anymore, I want to follow you.  Forgive me for my failures and my sins.  Help me to stop doing what I want and start doing what You want.  I want You as my Savior, I want You as my Lord.  Thank you for dying for my sins.  I believe you were raised from the dead and that you are alive in heaven right now.    In Jesus Name, Amen.

If it was your decision to believe, accept and pray then allow me to be the first to say,

“Welcome to the family!” 

“Welcome to love and forgiveness and acceptance like you have never known.  It won’t always be easy, sometimes it will be very hard.  But the struggle is worth it. 

Let me encourage you, if you made the decision to follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness, send me an email or leave a comment below with a good email address.  Not only do i want to send you another congratulations but I would also like to send you some info on what happens next.  Nothing big, I won’t spam you.  I don’t have a generic email I send out.  Here’s my email- reflectionsofamirror@gmail.com

Or if that freaks you out a little, find a church in your area and talk to the Pastor.  I don’t push one church over another but make sure it is a Christian Church. 

Another place you can go with a bigger presence is InTouch Ministries.  Or you can contact the folks at Billy Graham Ministries.   A great website to look at is www.crosswalk.com.  These ministries are very large and will help you take the next steps in your relationship with Jesus.  No matter what you decide though, find someone that can help you and show you where to go now.  If you just let it sit all those same feelings of emptiness and loneliness will come back.  Even though God hasn’t left you, it will feel that way.


Did you like this post?  Did you hate it?  Please share it with your friends and leave a comment below.  I would love to read your thoughts and opinions.

Bookmark and Share
Check out the Other Resources page for Bible Study Helps as well as media downloads, all free!

Questions?  Don’t forget to visit the Questions??Questions?? page and let me know.  I will try to answer it the best I can.  No Quantum Physics or Time Travel questions please!

I’m not Einstein you know

Digg This
Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Shawn,
    This is the first time I’ve really stopped to read one of these thoroughly….
    I must admit, I have many questions and problems with religion, but knowing that there is a God and the fact that he/she (I don’t like assigning gender because it seems silly) understands the fact that I struggle with all kinds of things-especially how to balance being me with being a ‘follower’. Now that said, I also find it difficult to be defined and don’t care for stereotypical monikers-such as religious, Christian, etc. That may sound weird, but really honestly I don’t want to be someone that people look to for answers because I don’t know them-I would like them to think, ‘hey, there’s a good person’ and if they’d like they can stop and ask me about my beliefs…I don’t like ‘forcefed’ and find that it’s typically a huge turn-off when someone is ‘preachy’ (not meaning you of course). I want to make a difference and be a ‘helper’, but I’m not confident enough in my path to branch out to others-maybe one day. I also have issues with the Bible-that’s a whole different converstation we may have one day.
    I do find that I talk to (Him) on a daily/sometimes hourly basis asking all types of questions~some go unanswered and sometimes if I listen carefully, there’s a response. I also consider the relationship akin to a parent/child role with (Him) understanding that as much as I might love and respect (Him) I have issues and imperfections that I’m working on and asking for help on-which I know (He) loves me anyway and sometimes sighs and shakes (His) head in either disappointment or reluctant amusement…..LOL.
    Everyday is a new day and I hope that most days I’m not a disappointment. Thanks for your shared insight-keep up the good work (following/lack of compromising). :0)

  2. @ Beth,
    I too have many questions and problems with religion. I don’t like labels either. I have tried to get away from calling myself a Christian as most Christian’s today call themselves that only because they go to church, not because they live it during the week.

    I have taken to calling myself a Christ-Follower, because that is who I am modeling my life around. I do go to church and think it is important to do so but the church no longer defines me, Jesus does.

    I am also not a blind follower, I still question God and Jesus daily, not about their existence but about what I believe about them. The Bible says to Seek and you will find. I seek (question) a lot.

    I try not to be “preachy”. Most of my posts are what I am dealing with at the time, I am trying to be real and authentic, hopefully that comes through the computer screen.

    I believe you are right on with your view of God as parent, us as child. Excellent analogy.

    I KNOW God roles His eyes at me a lot! And if He shook His head every time I do something dumb He’d have whiplash! LOL

    I am so glad you stopped by and thankful that you posted your thoughts.
    Shawn

  3. That’s awesome that you ‘model yourself’-that’s a great way to put it! I think God gave us this great mind to question and to be curious…I believe 110% that (He) would be greatly disappointed if we didn’t (it would be a waste of the endowment otherwise). I’m on a quest and sounds as if you are as well…so we’ll continue to meet in this venue and have rousing discussions on our finds~deal? lol
    Thanks again for all your insights, you’re quite deep to be so comical/amusing-Amy is a lucky chick!!! (good to know you finally have someone deserving and appreciative like her as well-she’s one cool chick; we’ll have to visit sometime to get to know her better hopefully). :0)

  4. Deal. And I agree 120% (ha, top that) I love discussion, that’s where true learning and understanding happen. And you guys are welcome anytime. We have a big pool to swim in called the Gulf!
    Shawn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: