Perception is a powerful thing. When you perceive a thing that is not the way God perceives it, you are in trouble! For a long time, I perceived growth in God and the status of my relationship with him as either growing or staying still. Then, if you are knowingly living in sin, that’s when you are backsliding. That’s how I thought. I don’t think I am the only one either.
The truth is that life is in constant motion. There is no stagnation. If you don’t eat, do you stop aging? No. You are using up nourishment that isn’t being replenished and that will continue until you starve to death. The spirit is the same. If you aren’t feeding on the Word of God, if you aren’t dwelling in His presence, if you aren’t communing with Him in prayer, then you are going away from him. Let’s go to the Word to prove it.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matt. 12:30
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matt. 6:24
The word is pretty direct about serving God. He is clear that life with him is an all or none kind of deal. When you say “I accept you Jesus as my Lord and Saviour”, that’s not the end. Eternal life comes from confessing and believing that Jesus is our Saviour. Everyone is cool with that, believe and you don’t go to hell. But he wants to be our Lord. Lordship is a given position that allows Jesus to govern our thoughts and decisions in every area. Did you know that was part of the deal when you accepted him? Would you have still made the choice?
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.” Prov. 4:14 This is an Old Testament directive that didn’t go away in the new covenant. Let me prove it.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Tim. 3:1-5
This outlines what God considers evil: talking bad about people, disobedience, ungratefulness, and POWERLESS forms of godliness!
Being a good person isn’t going to cut it. It’s a start, but there’s a whole lot more to this life than being kind. Do you choose love when it isn’t deserved? Do you give without reservation, even when you don’t have it to give? Do you go out of your way to make someone else’s day better? Do you minister the gospel as often as possible? Are you living by faith? Are you laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover? Are you raising the dead to life?
Just like lying and murder are the same – both sin – believing for a headache to be healed and someone to be raised from the dead is the same. They both require faith, but if you aren’t growing your faith then you won’t have what it takes to see results!
Grow in your faith today by seeking first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33), and stop going away from God by not running towards him. If you aren’t moving towards Jesus actively, your inactivity is forcefully pulling you away from him! Don’t be deceived by your perception, see your life the way God does.