You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
James 2:19-20 NLT
Last year wasn’t smooth sailing even after I made the decision to be more serious about my relationship with God…for starters I made a few blunders here and there. I hope you learn from my mistakes and you don’t find yourself in the trenches. Cue mistake number one!
1. Having a “works” mentality
Yes faith without works is dead BUT our salvation isn’t based on the number of things we are able to get right. We are truly saved when we have FAITH not because we earned it. We could never have earned it . If that were the case then Jesus died for bants. (For no reason at all)
Do not live by the law (trying your best to obey God’s commands in your own strength to gain good standing in His eyes) live by the Spirit. I could write a whole separate blog post on this because even to this day I find myself frustrated because I’m trying to live by works. It is death, it is tiring.
2. Comparing yourself to other believers
Comparison is the thief of joy. I would see other believers, especially online (YouTube and Tiktok) and instead of feeling encouraged I would feel defeated. They appeared to be very “far” in their walk with God and I thought “Welp look at them, look at me, when will I ever get there at this rate” and for a moment I thought God was playing favourites.
When I heard them say “God showed/told me…” I would get a bit uneasy, “Why didn’t he tell me?”
It is rather unfair to yourself to compare your day one to someone’s 7th year, in fact, comparing your journey to another person’s journey is just a bad idea.
I like the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some had been working since morning and some pitched up only very late into the day but they all got paid the same amount of wages. Some have been professing believers from age 4 and you’re 57 and you just turned your life over to Jesus, God values you just as much as the person who has been abiding by Him nearly all their life.
We need to learn that just like any other relationship, it needs time, commitment and dedication to grow. God values all of us.
3. Substituting quiet time with God with endless sermons and messages from other believers
Last year for a couple of months I found myself consuming great amounts of YouTube content from Christian YouTubers. While I was washing plates, mopping the floor, cleaning my mom’s car, etc and I thought it was enough. I have highlighted in “The Book You Shouldn’t Forget to Read” and “Who is God To You” the IMPORTANCE of reading the word of God for yourself.
It is one of the main raw materials needed for spiritual growth. God’s word is truth, when you have the truth it is easy to filter out the lies from the father of lies (the devil) The devil exploits our ignorance.
Yes the sermons are great! But there’s something special waiting for you when you take time to read for yourself. For example, if someone came up to you claiming to know you personally from simply observing your life via social media… you’d probably think they were joking or something. People can tell you about God and you can read blogs such as this one but if you don’t spend time with Him in prayer and reading His word how can you truly know Him?
Don’t be fooled, we NEED the word of God. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light into our paths.
4. Having zeal…without wisdom
It had been a little under two months since I’d made the decision to follow Jesus and I rightfully believed that Jesus was the answer to everything. “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel”, I thought, so I made it a point to share the good news.
On social media there was an individual venting about their troubles and there I was in the DMs talking about how Jesus is the solution and in a way I invalidated their feelings. I was zealous but I did not even consult God about it, I went in there with my own plan. The intention was good but I misfired. It reminds me how Peter cut off the soldier’s ear he was very zealous, I’ll give him that, but he didn’t act from a place of wisdom.
5. Thinking that life will be smooth sailing when you follow Jesus
Sisempini la. We are at war here. Jesus himself said “In this world, you will have trouble but behold I have overcome the world.” He didn’t say “might” “could have” or “perhaps” we’ll definitely have trials and hardships. Do not be crushed and think that you made a mistake, it’s part of the deal. We ought to hold onto Jesus for
He who endures to the end shall be saved.
6. Thinking discipline means you’re doomed
I had the idea that conviction and correction from the Holy Spirit means condemnation. That is a lie. God doesn’t expose our vices in order to make us feel bad or to reject us, He exposes to heal and not to hurt. When you’ve been shown that you’ve been doing something wrong, it is an opportunity for
you to change and do it right rather than an indication that God hates you.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Revelation 3:19 ESV
I am still learning and I’ll forever be learning because I don’t know everything, none of us do. We need to recognise our lack and rely on God at all times.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3 ESV