What’s keeping you from a closer walk with God?: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Daily
Developing a real, intimate and personal with God will require you to sacrifice and surrender.
It requires that you let go and release things that are standing in the way of you and God.
In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus says “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” The disciples had the most intimate, real and personal relationship with Christ than anyone on this Earth. However, in order to have had that kind of relationship they had to learn the practice and habit of daily sacrifice and surrender. And they weren’t just releasing and letting go of just anything…but something that mattered…the one thing that was most valuable to them…their own life.
And the same goes for us as followers of Christ. When you decided to follow Christ, you decided to die…to sacrifice yourself…to be ready & willing, on a daily basis put to death – yourself…your ambitions, wants, and desires…all of the things your life is made of.
It’s uncomfortable to think that “I have decided to die” but it’s the truth. “Taking up your cross” here means to make the decision to die, to be persecuted, and to be ridiculed in the name of Jesus, but in that death is the life we find in Christ.
Pastor and Bible Teacher Warren Wiersbe so eloquently puts it this way: “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will. This once-and-for-all dedication is followed by a daily “dying to self” as we take up the cross and follow Him. From the human point of view, we are losing ourselves, but from the divine perspective, we are finding ourselves.” (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament)
So how then, do we sacrifice and surrender everyday to develop intimacy with God. Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself EVERYDAY…
1. What am I holding to so tightly that it is keeping me from a closer relationship with God?
Is there a mindset or way of thinking that’s holding you back? What do you believe about life that you does not align with the ways of God?
Is it a person(s)? Are there people in your life that you are embracing that are blocking your view of God? Do you spend more time trying to manipulate your way into relationships with people than you do trying to hear from God?
Is it the past? Are you still trying to recreate past experiences to get back to “the way things used to be”, when God is trying to move you from the present and into the future?
Is it a desire or idea? Is your desire to move to a new city, get a new job, start a business, be in a relationship, have a baby, etc. of greater value to you than your time with God?
Is it material possessions? Must you have a home in a certain neighborhood to give you a certain status or a particular type of car to signify to others that you are doing well financially? It doesn’t have to be large purchases, possessions of any value can be problematic if you are not willing to sacrifice them.
Is it a habit? Are there activities that you engage in that you either idolize or create an atmosphere of sin that is contrary to the will of God for you?
Whatever it is ask yourself honestly if it is coming between you and God’s best for you.
2. What am I afraid will happen if I surrender and let go of these things?
When God was leading me to close my business, I thought “people will think I’m crazy if I do this!”. But I knew that it was what God had ordained. I realized that I was too focused on what other people would think about my decision that I couldn’t see God’s perspective.
Cultivating a personal relationship with Him is what changes your perspective. Find and root out the fear and shame that are standing in between you and God. Find and write out scriptures that speak the truth about God and banishes that fear.
3.What might my life look like if I lived wholly, fully and totally surrendered to Christ?
This is where you can use your imagination for good. Often we use our imagination for worry and picture all of the negative things that might happen.
Or we use it for selfish reasons when we only visualize gain and prosperity for ourselves and those closest to us but not others.
But here, in this space, imagine a life where God comes first and His desires for you are those you believe and pursue. Move past living the dream that others say you should be living and live the dream that God has in store for you!
Sacrifice and surrender in and of itself is uncomfortable and quite frankly not always fun. But when we can hold on to some things so tightly that they keep us from embracing God and from giving Him our all.
Learn to release what you are holding on to and let go of the things that are not serving God’s purpose for your life. Don’t let your comfort keep you from experiencing the presence and love of God.