I enjoy winning. If I lose a game I feel deflated, as if I have wasted some of my time on actually playing the game. It’s not about having fun or spending time with friends and family, I want to win. Of course, I am partially joking, but we all would admit that winning is better than losing. That is why, as a Christian and as a pastor I want to win. Too often I see Christians who are trying hard to experience personal victories but never will because they are going about it the wrong way. I’ve listed three things here that will keep you from experiencing personal victories every single time.
James 1:20, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Nothing spiritual has ever been accomplished out of an angry heart. Yet I see pastors motivate out of anger and I see Christians who walk into church with anger in their hearts. Some Christians try to make their angry disposition sound spiritual by saying that they have righteous indignation, but they do not fool God and they mostly do not fool other people, they are just angry. God will not use an angry Christian. And if you think you will experience spiritual victories while harboring anger in your heart, you are in for a disappointment.
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him…”
There is no room for doubt in the Christian life. God wants you to have faith in him. I think one of the biggest lies given to Christians today is that all you need is a little faith and God can do great things. That is not what Jesus was saying when he talked about the mustard seed. He said he can use a little faith, not that we can have just a little faith. What’s the difference? Let me ask you this: That mustard seed that produced a mighty tree, was it half a seed, a small part of a seed, or a full seed? Obviously, it had to be a full seed. I am not going to plant my garden and cut my seeds into tiny pieces before planting them, nothing would happen. The same is true with your faith, do not give a small chunk of your faith to God, completely trust Him. Yes, all of your faith is still very little faith (just a little faith…), but God does not want some of it, God wants all of it. Why are Christians not experiencing spiritual victories? Because they do not fully trust God.
Distractions and Sin
Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
It saddens me how many people try to live the successful Christian life while still holding on to sin. You cannot have it both ways, a college professor used to always say to my class, “There are only two choices on the shelf, pleasing God and pleasing self!” You cannot hold on to sin and be a victorious Christian. Along those lines, you cannot have distractions and be a victorious Christian. Notice that the verse differentiates between weights and sins. This is telling me that there are some things in life that are not necessarily sin but slow me down in my spiritual race. Let me ask you, what is slowing you down in your walk with God? What is decreasing your fervency? Get rid of it!
James 4:6, “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Possibly the biggest problem that Christians face is pride. Pride comes naturally to us because we are naturally sinful people. But we see that God resists the proud. What does that mean? It actually means that he is actively opposing the proud, not passively, actively. To give you an idea of this, my son loves playing outside and he loves getting dirty while doing so. I have had trouble lately getting him inside to take a bath. He will kick and cry, he will fight me so that he can stay inside and play some more. What is he doing? He is resisting me. The big difference between my son and God though, is that God has the power to resist me. I can punish my son and put him in time out for his resistance, but I certainly cannot do that to God. Let me ask you, do you want God actively working on your behalf (he giveth grace to the humble) or do you want him actively working against you? The answer should be obvious. Yet many Christians find themselves trying to live the Christian life and constantly running into a brick wall because God is resisting their heart of pride.
Those are a few things that hinder our walk with God and stop us from being victorious. Can you think of any more? Tell me in the comments!
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