“So, he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15: 20 NLT
Have you ever felt as if you were distant from God? Not in the sense of your avoidance of Him but in the sense of questioning if He’s around? Yea, me too. It’s a vulnerable place to be in, feeling uncovered because it feels as if His presence has left. Although we know God is ever-present in our lives despite our embracing Him. Yet, what does it mean when it feels like He’s not? Well, it’s not Him, it’s us! What have we picked up that creates this distance between us and our God? More importantly, how do we know when we’re moving away from God before the sudden reality slaps us in the face. Here are 3 indicators to let you know that you’re moving away from God.
1. Embracing previously abandoned habits.
All of us have some habits we’ve decided to let go; Whether it was a conscientious choice to be healthier or God had to literally pull you by your shoestrings away from your habit of choice. Living a life in Christ, its full of rearranging priorities, trading the enjoyment of sin for the commitment of living for Him.
Throughout our walk with Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised when advocates of our previous lifestyle come to see if we’re still interested. Friends and coworkers are eager to give you a hot cup of tea full of the discretions of others. Exes are calling you inviting you back for a stroll down memory lane. Maybe you’ve walked into a setting where people are taking shots and you’ve broken up with alcohol.
Admit it, we’ve all had memories of the “life before.” Yes, it was fun while it lasted, but sometimes, while in reminiscence, we start to hold onto the intrigue. Having that bit of interest in the former things is what we use to consume content that caters to that sin, little by little until we become consumed.
2. Changing of the Guards
This simply means, your friends/circle begin to change. Where ever you are in your life, you’ve had a change of friends or those in your circle. Think about it. People in your circle are supposed to keep you well rounded. However, our friends are representative of our interest and they feed us what they consume, so there has to be a shared appetite. They feed our intrigue. How many of us can think of a time we snuck out if the house or lied to our parents, collectively, to go to a party? Whenever we’ve had a great scheme in place, there were friends who’ve helped to carry out those plans, trifling or not!
Guards are in place to permit or prohibit certain things into a place of value and vulnerability. Are they guarding you or exposing you? Are they here for the protection of infiltration? Watch your circle, they indicate who you are.
3. Little to no interest in spending time with God.
This indicator is for those who’ve been exposed to being a God chaser. One who God chases is one who goes beyond making it to church on time. They are people who indulge in personal study time and prayer with fervency. They love to worship, beyond the first 30 minutes of service and all of this isn’t necessarily done to be on God’s good side; it’s done out of love and adoration. And so, to get to a point where we have to remind ourselves of something, we’d do without a second thought is a huge indicator.
The intrigue with sin has begun to dig a ditch between us and our passion for God and we slowly drift away from spending time with God. We now become sleepy when we start to pray or read the Bible, we choose watching TV over studying His Word until we begin to run on empty. We still make it to church, but the overflow from an independent study has dried up and now we feel the tugging of sin pulling us one way.
The pulling of slowly induced, sleep-like depression in another direction. While the dragging of frustration for allowing the drift to happened trips us up.
Yes, there’s a way to overcome all of this. I’ve recently come out of this slump myself, So I’ll quickly tell you, NO SOCLUSION IS NOT THE ANSWER! Being alone doesn’t help you in the least. It only allows Satan to speak into your ear louder with thoughts of self-loathing amongst greater temptations. You cannot trust your own emotions to govern your life. Call a friend who knows how to pray. Pray and cover yourself! Even if you can’t think of words to say, in the least just call on Jesus’ name, plead the blood of Jesus. Talk to someone, it’s best to speak to a therapist to help sort through your thoughts. Sometimes a trusted friend is best suited for some situations. You can overcome this. Maybe you’ve haven’t gone this far yet, but if you feel the distance, shorten it! Come to yourself and come back to the father!
1 Peter 5:8 “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” NLT