Over the last 2 weekends at Mountain Lake Church 34 people have been baptized. I excitedly watched and cheered for each one of them….several of whom I personally know. I’m even more pumped about the new life they are beginning. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life has gone; a new life has begun!” Sure, they’ll make plenty of mistakes….we all do. Just read what James 3:2 says, “For indeed we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongue, we would be perfect, and could also control ourselves in every other way.” But if they stay focused on God, they will steadily grow in faith and become more and more like Jesus. That’s a direct promise! John 5:4 quotes Jesus, “Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
Nevertheless, I’ve been a follower of Jesus long enough to know the challenges to staying focused on Him…to remaining in Him. My experiences have proven just how easy it is to drift away from the One I claim to follow. When I do, I lose momentum. I lose a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I lose an innate sense of happiness that comes from walking closely with God. And I suffer all the consequences of taking my eyes off my Leader.
Recognizing the subtle ways I take my eyes off of Jesus is key to my spiritual health. Here are 3 of the greatest threats to the vitality of my Christian life:
1. Exchanging what I do for who I am. I’m tempted to focus more on the acts of service I do, rather than my love relationship with God. When I do, my life becomes extremely self-centered, not God-centered.
2. Thinking I’m good enough. I’m tempted to overlook or excuse my sin. I must recognize it and confess it. If I don’t, I limit the power of God in my life.
3. Putting on a Christian face. I’m tempted to pretend I have it all together, rather than being transparent and vulnerable to a few trusted friends. When I do, my growth is stifled and stunted.
What about you? Do you recognize these trends in your own life? What are the greatest threats to your Christian life?