It is time again to review my top five list of things for 2019 that can derail a persons relationship with the Lord. Keep in mind there are many things that can affect adversely a persons passion and faith in Christ but these are the top five that I have personally experienced or found true while in ministry.
5. Judgmental and Unforgiving Mindset
First off, there is a place for a Christian to make righteous judgment concerning someone or something. This type of judgment is different. One trait of a person who is completely sold out and full of passion for Christ Jesus is they see others through the lens of their own expectations. They truly see themselves as living godly and holy lives in Christ and expect others to see the same and follow suite. If others do not meet their expectations then they can easily assume that they do not love the Lord as they do. With those that are judgmental and/or unforgiving, they usually have a very short fuse of forbearance. They easily get frustrated with those that do not follow them in what they see as the right way to live. For most all Christians who have a judgmental and unforgiving mindset you will find one trait. They have something(s) in their own life that they practice that is not right before God, so to make them feel better, they easily find fault in others.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~ Matthew 7:5
4. Hard Times
All throughout history this has been a stumbling block to people who sincerely desire to know God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They receive with joy the words of life concerning a newfound relationship with God through Jesus Christ and then expect everything that was wrong to be made right. All problems should disappear and temptations should fade into the past. They soon discover that following Jesus is a narrow path and a hard way. When we live contrary to the reign of Satan and sin in our world, it can be challenging to go against the natural stream. If new believers are not taught that living and abiding in Christ brings a new set of battles and trials, then they can easily be discouraged and fall away claiming it simply did not work.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. ~ Matthew 13:20-21
Even if a Christian can trust the Lord through difficult times and obtain victory in hardships there is another subtle enemy that so easily invades the life of a Christian. Complacency seems to come out of nowhere. In reality, it has slowly crept into the heart and mind of a Christian over a long period of success, enjoyment, pleasure or busyness. Priorities slowly shift. Where once Jesus was the passionate place in their life, the Lord slowly gets lost in the daily grind of life. The unfortunate result is usually very little fruit or growth in faith.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. ~ Matthew 13:22
Especially in our culture there are endless activities that can fill our daily lives. Many at first are passionate and consumed with getting to know Jesus in their newfound relationship, but at some point they find themselves at a crossroad. Family, holidays, sports, work and many other life’s experiences start to dig into their time that was once reserved for the Lord. Before they know it, their first love for Christ has become just a normal duty of life to fit into their schedule. Where once they could not wait to gather together with their brothers and sisters in faith many times a week, now to make it once a week to church they are doing good. Jesus started out as their whole life… and now he is just one part of their life.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33
Relationships still hold the number one spot in derailing a passionate and solid relationship with the Lord. Over years of ministry it is the one thing a person can say to me that still sends chills down my spine. I have seen strong men and women of faith with long term faithfulness as a single person completely disappear and fall into the dark hole of a relationship. Human emotions are the most powerful and the most persuasive force that can easily guide a Christian’s life down the wrong path or down the right path. It is critical that before a Christian makes one step toward starting a relationship that they cover it in prayer and carefully see that person in the light of God’s Word. Never start a relationship with someone who is just willing to go to church to be with you. Never start a relationship thinking you can bring them to the Lord and save them. Always set a high standard and settle for nothing less than someone who loves Christ more than you or the world. Wait, be patient, wise, with eyes wide open. Listen to your Father in Heaven and never consider anyone that does not have strong, healthy faith in Christ Jesus as Lord. It is much easier to stop a relationship at the beginning than after you have invested your emotions and time.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14