In last week’s blog we talked about ways to handle choices so they don’t undermine your priorities. One strategy was to anticipate “walls,” the things that will stand between you and your time with God. We all face walls. Anticipating those walls helps us prepare for them, so that we can find a way over them. Here are five strategies for getting over your walls:
1. Admit your walls—first to God, then to others.
Some of our walls are sins. We need to confess those. Honestly, if I am continually choosing to watch Desperate Housewives instead of reading the Bible, that is, quite frankly, a sin. I am effectively telling God that I would rather fill my mind with adultery and deception than with things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8) By confessing to God, I get the forgiveness and renewed strength I need. (Psalm 32:5) By confessing to others, I get the accountability I need. (James 5:16)
2. Face your walls.
Hebrews 10:39 tells us, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Don’t let your walls intimidate you. Face them. Jesus’ disciples don’t deny that walls exist. We don’t deny that they get the best of us sometimes. We face our walls. We believe and are saved.
3. Hit your walls
Remember Peter? He is one of Jesus’ best-loved disciples. But Peter seriously screwed up his relationship with Jesus. Mark records what happened when Peter denied knowing Jesus:
“Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” (Mark 14:72)
Disowning a friend is a big wall. And Peter hit it hard. But Jesus is a God of second chances. He redeems even our worst mistakes. After Jesus died and came back to life, he met with Peter, and they talked about what had happened. Jesus ended up reinstating Peter:
“The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.'” (John 21:17)
Peter was closer to God after his betrayal and forgiveness than he ever had been before. And he was a more powerful witness because of that experience. It’s tempting to think, “Well, I tried that, and I failed, so why bother.” But sometimes, as with Peter, hitting that wall is what we need to really get close to God.
4. Find a ladder
Romans 12:21 tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” A “ladder” is anything that will help you get over the walls between you and God. For every wall there is a ladder.
Some examples: A ladder over the wall of procrastination might be to set an alarm as a deadline by which you have to have your devotions done. A ladder over the wall of interruptions might be to ask your family to give you some time alone. A ladder over the wall of boredom might be to read a different version of the Bible, or to listen to the Bible on your iPod, or to read your devotions out loud.
For every wall there is a ladder. If you are facing a wall that you can’t find a ladder over, post a comment about it below. I guarantee you, we will be able to find a ladder over that wall!
5. Ask God for help.
The good news is, God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to break down those walls. This relationship is not up to you alone. You and God are in it together.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT
“I can do everything….” Even get up early. Even make it through the book of Leviticus. Even make myself accountable to someone else. Because Christ gives me the strength.
Endings and beginnings
This is the end of our Time For God series. But I hope it is not the end of your commitment to spend more time talking and listening to God. That kind of relationship is a lifelong journey that requires constant attention because it will often come under attack. It’s worth the investment you make because God and people are the only two things that will last forever. Nothing else matters.
Will you make (or renew) a commitment to talk to God every day in prayer, and listen to Him every day by reading the Bible?