The Big Chop is part 1 of a series to identify and eliminate external and internal factors that distract us and keep us from achieving spiritual growth and maturity.
Have you ever consoled yourself by asking, “I am a good person, why are all of these bad things happening to me?” Since each of us is as unique as our fingerprints, so are our circumstances. Many internal and external factors influence the challenges in our lives. Because there are variables, we will approach these factors because they impact our spiritual relationship with God.
Looking at the external factors is demanding and takes honesty. We must take a stand and possess the willingness to identify the people, places, and things that are causing chaos and lack of growth and maturity in our lives. Let’s look at the most influential external factor, the people that we have invited into our intimate social circle. The New American Standard Bible tells us: Do not be mismatched with unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together, or what does light have in common with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Many who who say they are believers have the character of unbelievers. How is that possible? Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Galatians 5:24. They acknowledge that there is God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, but they live for self easily giving into the things that please themselves.
The Apostle Paul identifies the most pertinent underlying external factor that deters (hinders) us from following God: You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? Galatians 5:7. Without a doubt, the people we share our innermost thoughts, laugh, and hang out with can influence us to think, act, and live outside of God’s established boundaries.
Serving God is not easy: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.…James 1:2-3
It will be difficult to make a list of the friends or family that God requires us to distance ourselves from. But I can assure you that if your prayer is to “let God’s will be done in your life,” then God is going to take action if we do not. No, none of us have arrived or reached spiritual perfection. But God is a protective and jealous Father. He will not allow the enemy to destroy our peace and joy.
God reveals His instructions and guides us through the Bible, which is His Voice.
- Love Unconditionally: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:5-7
- Possess Righteous characters: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22, 23
- Pray for one another: Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17
No matter how hard it appears, we must perform the process of elimination. It is not a matter of ceasing all contact, and not speaking to the individuals because of anger, hurt, or unforgiveness. If those are our underlying reasons, then we are sinning against God and the persons. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20.
God desires that we are healthy and happy! Remember that God would never place people in our lives that would prevent us from having His peace, love, and joy. As painful as the process is, God expects us to be obedient to His way and will. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8
Yes, at the beginning, you will miss them. Still, we must put God first! God requires that we love Him enough to eliminate all external factors that prevent our relationship with Him from maturing. Our spiritual journey is tough! I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Yet, we are not alone!
From personal experience, I admit that I am a hardheaded believer. So God got tired of the back-and-forth, and He did the big chop on my friend/family lists. Now I have a small circle of friends and family–spiritual sisters who pray, study God’s Holy Word, talk about the goodness of God, and support each other with laughter and words of encouragement.
Have faith and trust in your Heavenly Father who reminds us: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27. God will place the people in your life that know how to love, laugh, and pray. Our wellness and being made whole spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically is His concern. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” Johns 5:6
If we only understood the love of God, The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3, then we would fully understand who we are and who we belong to, a most loving Heavenly Father.
Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 13
God, we come to you broken, wounded, and battered. Without you, we do not have any goodness within us. We ask you to heal our fragile hearts and perform the big chop on the external factors that bring us down. We love you. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.