What Stops a Man from Continuing with God – Part 1
The fact that you stopped means there are forces against your continuation with God, just the same way that without any challenge there is a frictional force that prevents an object from continuously moving in a particular direction. In the same way, there are forces both internal and external that prevent a man from continuing, but one thing is certain, the everyman that has ever continued had to contend with those forces and overcome them, it was thereafter that they become heroes of faith.
The greatest contention against our continuation in the journey of faith is not a demon, even though they are on the way, but our greatest contention are the forces that stopped us from continuing with God. Reviewing the life of Paul in Rom. 8: 35 -39, we realised Paul made up his mind that nothing would stop or separate him from the love of Christ.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord-Rom. 8: 35 -39.
What are some of the things that stopped many from following the Lord?
- The Crisis of Life: When Jesus was taken away from Peter, he lost sight of following because he thought that was the end of his following. Many times, when we face some fortitude of life, we think that is the end of the whole matter, but alas we must not end the continuation but keep following. Luke 22: 54 – 66.
Crisis happens to shake you and shift your eyes away from God to the crisis, the whole intent of challenges to believers is to shift their eyes away from faithfulness of God to the strenght of the crisis.
Many stops because of challenges in marriage, job, career, etc. It must be noted that for believers to stand tall in following the Lord, nothing should be strong enough to stop them, those crises should be seen as mountains to climb rather than crises to make a saint fall. After the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost, they were persecuted adversely, the intent of the persecution was to make them stop following Christ, but they keep following even harder. (Acts 5: 17 – 42). Also, the intent of the devil was for Jesus not to complete the work of redemption of man, he wanted Him to give up at that stage, but Jesus continued because he understood his mandate
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.Heb. 12: 2
32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. Mark 14: 32 – 36.
From the above two scriptures, we saw how challenging the redemption process was for Jesus but he endured the cross, he endured the sorrow of death, he endured the heaviness setting his eyes on the joy beyond the crises, this is the same approach believers must have during crises so as to keep following the Lord
- When a man sleeps when he should be awake: One of the things that affected the Apostles was that, when Jesus was praying for strength to continue, they were sleeping, the place of praying for strength to continue is not when the crisis comes rather it is when we are free from crisis. They were unable to continue with Jesus in times of tribulation because they fail to receive the needed strength when they should have received it. In Mark 14: 37-42 the disciples were sleeping and that prevented them from gaining the needed strength required in the time of battle.
37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again he went away and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour comes; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. (Mark 14: 37 – 42).
In this journey never sleep on the way, many stopped because they lack strength which should have been received before the crises in the place of prayer. The time of rest is not meant for playing but for praying, In 1 Kings 19:7, the Bible says: And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. Here God has to feed Elijah at the time of rest because the journey is far for him and there is a potential crisis on the way.
- When a man is distracted by so many administrative requirements: The Apostles almost stopped following the Lord when they began to follow administrative requirements but thanks to God, they quickly retrace themselves back and gave themselves to prayer and the word (Acts 6: 1-7). Many believers started very well, but these administrative requirements have affected their pursuit, they begin to make major what should be minor and minor what should be major. We must rightly divide the word of God as (2 Tim 2: 15) 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth;
Giving appropriate weight to what matters in our lives and congregations is key to our following, for instance, prayer and the word carry more weight than Church dinner etc. When we are distracted we can easily lose sight of God and stop following Him.
4. Because you do not define the things that you must continue in: One thing about the Apostles was that they defined the things that they must continue in, they continued in Prayer, Word, Fellowship, and Breaking of Bread. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers-Acts 2: 42, But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word-Acts 6: 4, They continued in witnessing the resurrection of Christ Acts 4: 33
Here the Apostles clearly defined what they want to continue in, they want to continue in the things that are core to the Christian faith, and they want to continue in the things that will be responsible for their Christian edification and growth. A man will stop following the Lord when he does not define what he must continue in, the world will take away what is in such hands and give other things to continue with. A believer and Christian congregation must define what they want to continue in and those must be in a replica of the Apostles.
- Things of this present world: A man that wants to keep following the Lord cannot keep entangling himself with the affairs of this world. We saw Demas, who had served as part of Paul’s ministry team during Paul’s house arrest in Rome between AD 60—62 (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24) but the record we later heard about him was that he left because of the things of this world. 2Tim. 4: 10
for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.2Tim. 4: 10
The world has its enticement which if not quickly cut off from the sight of believers it could draw a man away from following the Lord. You can imagine a man that has worked with Paul, seen all the miracles and wonders of God, experienced the Supernatural and the power of redemption but later departed because of this present world to a bigger city where the allurement of this world was calling him and with this calling he has to neglect the Lord. Apart from the things of this world, several that were with you may leave because of this present world like Demas but never should you be tempted to stop following the Lord.
©This is an excerpt from the God Seekers Solemn Assembly Opening Charge.