Have you ever felt like your walk with God wasn’t “working”?
Have you ever wondered, “am I doing this right”?
Steeped in doubt and clouded by fear, maybe you’ve piddled in frustration, wondering if God sees you, if He, the Almighty One would care about your seemingly small existence.
I’ve been there. I’ve been in a place of seeking God’s face, serving in church, praying, reading and checking every religious box, only to feel empty, riddled with guilt and shame.
I’ve been there. Crying out to God for deliverance, for clarity, for direction, answers and wisdom, only to sit in the same cycle for another month, another year, another season.
Is God still speaking? Does He see us? Does He care?
The problem is that we are looking for God with our five senses. We are looking to see, smell, hear, touch, taste and feel God, when He is a Spirit.
Yes, we go to church and experience the sensationalism of collective worship, the live music, the intonation of the preacher, the joy of seeing familiar faces, the ministry of beauty in praise dance or song.
It’s like a first date.
When you first meet someone, you wear your good perfume, your best outfit, you smile when it’s appropriate, you are on your best behavior. With time, you fall in love. You are excited to see that person. You feel butterflies when they call you on the phone. There is an emotional connection to love. This is how we see God when we go to church.
But when we go home, we look for the same emotional experience and equate sensationalism to the presence of God.
We wait for the baptism or immersion of the Holy Spirit to overshadow us. We prayed and asked God for deliverance, but interpreted the physical sensation as deliverance. So when that feeling went away, we thought “it didn’t work”.
We waited for God to override our thinking, feeling and choosing. Yet our mental, carnal desire remained intact – on guard against the actual supernatural.
As we waited, we missed the supernatural, trusting our own abilities, trusting our own thoughts and instincts. Following God without knowing God. Our service became our relationship with God, works replacing worship. Eventually, we build our relationship with God on works rather than worship.
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24
We’ve refused to move without facts. We’ve ignored the unction of the Spirit in absence of proof, wondering if this is truly God. Did God tell me to start my business? Did God tell me to go to Nineveh? Did God say?
This is reminiscent of Satan’s temptation to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Did God say”?
When we rely on what we see, touch, taste, feel, smell, hear…we give the enemy ground. We give the enemy access to manipulate the word of God. And when God does speak, we can miss the moment of opportunity, because we’ve learned to live in fear and hesitate over action. No more.
In Isaiah 58, God speaks to a double-minded Christian – one who has checked every box, living the life that God has called him or her to live – yet in their heart, they cheat their employees, they choose violence, they live in a false humility, they’re mean…
Here are two things that block and blind us from the move of God in our lives:
- Disobedience – Have you done what God has told you to do?
The very foundation of hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord is reading the Bible. A daily habit of Bible Study is the single most important thing you can do to sharpen your hearing and get clarity on what God is speaking to you in your life.
Sometimes, God speaks through a preacher, sometimes God will speak through a dream, but God always confirms through His Word.
Jonah never stopped preaching. He simply went to a different city from where God told him to go. A simple decision to move in a different direction, can impact your future, lead you to a place of darkness, confusion and stagnancy.
If you are living on a diet of disobedience, there’s no wonder that the fruit of your life may be sickness, depression, anxiety, confusion, worry, lack or other negative things. If you read Deuteronomy 28, there is a list of blessings and curses that follow our obedience or our disobedience – just to name a few, some of these curses include inflammation, disease and poverty.
God is calling His people to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. This means that there is a divine gift in your obedience – the Kingdom of Heaven is waiting to be manifested in your home, your business, your career, your marriage and in your life – but it starts with your obedience.
- Religion over Relationships – We’ve honored traditions, we kept God in the box of our convenience.
Oftentimes, we serve Him when it works for our own idols of self, idols of people-pleasing, idols of our lusts and generational strongholds that have held our entire families bound.
There was a story of a woman who cut an inch off her meatloaf every time she made it. One day, her young daughter asked why she cut an inch off of the meatloaf. She shared that she didn’t really know, but her mother would always cut an inch off of her meatloaf. So the little girl went to her grandmother and asked the same question, “Grandma, why do you cut an inch off of your meatloaf?”
The little girl’s grandmother explained that when she got married, she didn’t have a meatloaf pan large enough to hold the meatloaf so she would always have to cut an inch off the meatloaf. Ha!
Tradition was to cut an inch off the meatloaf, because there was a unique need, however as time went on and life’s situations changed, the tradition should’ve changed. Sometimes, it is worth it to question our traditions.
Having roots in Native American culture and African culture, if I were to go back 3 or 4 generations, there could be some traditions in my bloodline that are rooted in idol worship, voodoo practices and polytheistic traditions. If I don’t question my traditions, I could be perpetuating demonic activity in my home. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I recommend the book, “Destroying Demonic Covenants and Curses” by Rev. James Solomon.
If you’ve ever been pulled over by the police, you probably know that you are held accountable for the law, whether you are aware of it or not. We can no longer continue traditions, simply for the sake of tradition. We have to be willing to explore our cultures and traditions and ensure they are backed by the Word of God.
If not, our traditions will take the place of God, so when we actually pray and go to God, we will limit ourselves to what tradition says God can do, instead of what His Word actually says He can do. We will limit ourselves to a manufactured, cookie-cutter version of religion rather than truly experience the power of the True and Living God.
We must be careful not to prioritize what we can sense in the physical realm, while neglecting, ignoring or deprioritizing what God is doing in the Spirit realm. We prioritize our own business goals, social media trends, signs and wonders, thinking that we’re being led by the Spirit, when we’re only being led by our own ambitions.
Proverbs 3:5-6 | Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
The fact of the matter is the whole reason we even put these superficial benchmarks for success in place is so we can compare ourselves to others. We want to measure up to our family, friends, colleagues and what society says we should be.
The truth of the matter is – none of us measure up. Our worth and our ultimate measure comes from Him. He gave us worth when He died on the cross and shed His blood. That is where our value comes from. God sent His Son knowing the gifts and talents that He has placed within us. So, how dare we live our lives, honoring others, honoring ourselves and our own accomplishments above God?!
Even the decision to get a safe, reliable job over chasing your God-given dream and identity in Christ can be a type of idol. If God is telling you to start the business, procrastinating and disobeying is saying to God that you trust that job, you trust that stream of income, that relationship, etc. over your relationship with Him.
It’s time for us to rethink our entire way of being, speaking, spending money, making a living and more so that our lives are pleasing to God.
Sophia Ruffin once said, “It’s going to be God or it’s going to be God”. Which one is it? I’m learning in my journey with God that He will not be second to anyone or anything.
Tell me, do you ever struggle to obey God? Which one of these strategies do you plan to implement?