The New Year is knocking on our door as we do a quick review of the departing 2013. At this time of year most of us go beyond a review of the news events and do a spiritual review as well. One of the questions we should be asking ourselves is : Is there anything in my life taking away from my relationship with Jesus? I am not really sure that we are equipped to answer this honestly.
One thing that ensures the development of faith is a reliance on God; when we know we need him. If we don't need God we will dismiss him from our lives. This is the reason why faith is on such a dramatic decline in the Western World. We don't need God. We have everything we need: wealth, health, education, jobs, purpose. We are perfectly self-reliant so why continue with the premise of worshiping a God who no longer has a place in our lives? This is why so many hearts have grown cold to the gospel.
And if you do not think this is true, ask yourself if you are more reliant on seeking God for provision or your credit card? Do you seek him for your daily bread or do you figure it out on your own? Is he just something to worship or is he the God who provides all that you need?
Couple this with our insatiable appetite for diversion. We are a people whose great motivation in life is entertainment. The enemy of our soul does not need to put in any effort to try to distract us at all from the Lover of our soul because we do it to ourselves. Even the Church has changed to accommodate this appetite by making everything more entertaining, feeding into this great weakness that is a threat to our faith.
If we examine Jesus' words more clearly we will discover that his instructions were to make the Father our focus. He reminded us that our love for God must be all consuming, greater than any love of anything else in this world, even greater than of our parents, spouses and children. Yet we submit ourselves to entertainment that constantly disparages this relationship, defames our God and ridicules those who chose to be dependent on him. Can faith really be as bright as it is meant to be when we allow life to be sucked from it by such things?
The only goals worth having for this new year is to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength; and to show our love to be genuine by loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. We should seek to re-capture the servant heart of our Lord, desiring to be possessed and overwhelmed by his love. Perhaps we should start by returning to fasting and prayer. Perhaps we should start by removing the distractions from our faith. Perhaps we should start by returning to our first love with all our heart.
Jesus taught us to be radical in our love for our Father. He told us that if there is anything that is separating us from him we should remove it. He said it was so important that it is better for us to enter heaven maimed than to enter into hell whole. Is it not easier to turn off that television show or movie than to cut off a hand or to walk away from the internet than to pluck out an eye?
In 2013, has anything distracted you from your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? Has anything enslaved you again from what you were freed? Are you going to carry these things into the new year or leave them behind? Is it time to make some hard decisions so you can grow into the spiritual maturity to which our Father has called us? We cannot serve two masters. What is your priority for 2014?