Protect your relationship with God, it will be the most worthwhile thing you ever do! Shipwrecks occur when the captain of a ship fails to steer his ship safely thought hazardous surroundings. We can shipwreck our relationship with God when we fail to eliminate everything that threatens it.
1. Make times with God To-Dos
What I mean by this is that we can get so focused on doing the right things or saying the right things that we begin to go through the motions and not enjoy meeting with God. When I first met Kels I was not trying to schedule her in to my week, I began moving things around her availability. When our times with God become more about actually meeting with him and less about just doing it, we create a space for a relationship to grow.
2. Fill Your Life With Non-Essentials
I get that there are things that you do that are mundane and part of being human. We can’t only do the things that we want to do, but there are non-essential things that aren’t willing to give up. What is it for you that you spend time maintaining, working on, or committing to? If you were honest with yourself this thing is really draining time and resource. Time and resource that you could be spending relating with God and people. I’ve spoken to so many people who say they are to busy to spend time with God. If He is the vine and we are the branches, it seems like poor life management if we don’t create space to connect to our life support.
3. Focus On The Temporary
I’m constantly surprised by how quickly I can fall into thinking short-term and “small picture”. I begin to lose hope for what God can do as I focus my thoughts on my feelings, my week and my past. Focusing on eternity and the “big picture” of what God is doing in the world fills us with hope and assurance that God is at work in our day to day even if we don’t feel it.
4. Pray Only When You Need Something
When I think of my prayer life I often feel deflated because it’s not what I believe it should be. I often spend time thinking about the fact I come to God only for requests. It is like God is my personal DJ and I want him to play my songs. We are told to bring our requests to God but if that is all the relationship is made up of it’s not really a relationship. Could you imagine any relationship functioning in that way and still being healthy?
5. Read The Bible Only For Information
Most recently I have been convicted of this reality, that I have been spending my time learning about God. Why? So I can regurgitate it, so I can sound smart, so I can be seen as a “spiritual leader”. The problem is that knowledge puffs up as 1 Corinthians says. So instead of reading the bible to cultivate a loving and trusting relationship with God, it was leading to pride and arrogance.
6. Only Commit To Church On Sundays
Only slipping in and out of christian community on Sundays is a sure way to get shipwrecked. As people we drift. We go walkabout. Our mindset needs constant renewal, encouragement and discipline. I need people in my life to say “great job”. I also need people in my life to ask “why did you do that stupid thing?” The Christian cannot maintain a healthy faith apart from the body of Christ. Just like if you cut my leg of it wouldn’t live.
7. Let Fear Cripple You Sharing The Gospel
In the midst of risk taking we begin to exercise faith, we begin living faith. When we allow fear to hold us back often times we are saying “God I don’t trust you”, I mean we would never say that, but internally we do. Each time you step out and take risks for/with Jesus and he does his thing you begin trusting him more, growing in faith and joining with him in His work.
8. Disrespect Yourself
When you don’t respect yourself, you show those around you what you believe about yourself. What I mean by respect is that you make poor choices around things like what you eat, when you sleep, if you exercise and how you dress. If you don’t take care of yourself you aren’t acknowledging that God takes great pride in you or that you are a person of worth. How this plays out in a relationship is you either treat people like you treat yourself, disrespectfully, or allow them to walk all over you. These are both unhealthy ways to relate with God.
9. Live An Ungodly Life
Following on from the last point, this is more referring to moral choices. Often a young person will say to me that they aren’t sure about God. Generally, they have been caught up in a particular sin and they have opened their heart up to things that damage their relationship with God and harm themselves. When you fail to apply and live by God instruction and direction, you begin to doubt God’s power and his existence. Eventually, you will find yourself shipwrecked.
10. Maintain Many Superficial Relationships
I think a simple maths equation will suffice. Say you have 100 people in your life that you want to have a close relationship with and only around 20 hours a week to maintain all relationships. If you gave each person 1 hour, you would be able to see them every 5 weeks. I know life isn’t that simple but you get the point. 1 hour every 5 weeks is going to lead to a very poor friendship. How does this affect your relationship with God? That while you are chasing all these people to be your friends, time in your margins to meet with God is reduced. It’s also having shallow relationships on earth that can lead to a shallow relationship with God.
Protect your relationship with God, it will be the most worthwhile thing you ever do!