As followers of Christ, we must have an awareness of the people, habits, or choices, that are causing us to stumble in our walk with Jesus. Proverbs 4:19 states, “But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Sure, as followers of Christ, we would not label ourselves as “wicked,” but we all know how perfect Jesus was, and the enemy even tempted Jesus while he was fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. The Gospel of Matthew states, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (4:1, NIV). ” Yes, the enemy is defeated, but we must call on the name of Jesus to share in His victory over evil. John 10:10-11 (NIV) reminds us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. It is of our responsibility to take notice of the people, things, and choices that may be luring us away from the protection of “The Good Shepherd,” Jesus.
Spend some time in prayer and stillness with the Lord. If need be, refer to the Prayer of Presence on the inside cover of the journal.
Be mindful that this is not an exercise to judge everything and everyone in our life, and to bring shame or guilt, but instead to guard our hearts and set boundaries to protect our relationship with Jesus. Matthew 7: 1-2 (NIV) states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what is pushing you away or keeping you from keeping your eyes on Jesus. List what is pushing you away from Jesus on the left side.
Next, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what is pulling you closer to Jesus as you walk with Him daily. List what is pulling you closer to Jesus on the right side.
Focus on doing more of what is listed on the right side of the cross, and that which pulls you closer into relationship with Jesus.
Please remember that Jesus is never pushing us away from Him, but instead, He pulls us closer to Him so that we can have life to the fullest (John 10:10).