The Dangers of God-Distancing by Brian Mark Weller

Recently I found myself thinking about the term “social distancing.” Few had ever heard of it before the COVID-19 Crisis. Now everyone knows the term, and governments everywhere encourage us to practice it. But I’m not talking about social distancing in this devotional. Instead, I want to introduce a little-known practice that the whole Christian community should avoid. I call it “God-distancing.” What is it? 

The dictionary doesn’t have a definition for God-distancing, so I’ll define it. But first, let me say—no Christian should ever knowingly practice God-distancing. Please believe me when I say that it is crucially important to our spiritual health! I must warn you—if we engage in this practice, we’ll get infected by a very sneaky and destructive spiritual virus. 

So what is God-distancing?  

Defining God-Distancing, and Five Steps to a God-Distant Life

God-distancing is the practice of staying distant from our all-powerful, loving creator God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, despite our great need for fellowship with them. We’ll call those who practice this, “God-distancers.”

God-distancers aren’t necessarily outright rebels. They may want to hear God’s voice and be led by the Holy Spirit, but they aren’t willing to pay the price. These Christians may want the blessings of God’s Kingdom but remain too distracted to invest time with the King, Jesus Christ. 

Unfortunately, far too many have indulged in God-distancing for years on end.

To practice God-distancing, here are five steps to follow:  

  • Keep a safe distance from your Bible. 
  • Regularly skip times of personal prayer and worship.  
  • Avoid church services and passionate Bible teaching. 
  • Avoid fellowship with dedicated Christians.  
  • Spend very little time talking about God and his purposes. 
  • Don’t take the time to share the gospel with anyone.  

That’s how most practice God-distancing, and it truly works! The more you do these things, the more distant from God you will become, and the less will God’s fiery love and passion burn in your heart!  

The Symptoms of God-Distancing

Let me say, God-distancers may master these steps while maintaining a reputation as a Christian. I know because I’ve done it before. It’s so terrible for the soul! It left me empty and cold! Maybe you’ve done it before, too, and know that awful feeling.

Yes, God-distancing is a dangerous spiritual practice, but many lukewarm churches accept it as normal. They distance from God almost religiously, and they inevitably gain the desired result—a life devoid of God’s presence. Tragic but true! 

Believe me when I say—the empty feeling that comes with God-distancing is heartbreaking and miserable. God-distancers experience the following tragic side effects: 

  • A weary and weak faith to face day to day struggles. 
  • A deep doubt in the validity of God’s Word. 
  • A lot more money in their pockets to spend on things they want instead of on God’s purposes and plans. 
  • Another free day on the weekend to do what they want. 
  • (Add yours here). 

God’s Antidote for God-Distant Disease

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, the Word of God provides a straightforward antidote. I know, because I’ve needed it before—and God’s prescription truly works! It is time-tested and comes straight from God’s throne of grace, where Jesus sits as our High Priest. 

I praise God that He has filled the Bible with remedies for God-Distant Disease. To reverse your symptoms, start with the Apostle John’s conditional promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 (NKJV). Take a moment and do it now. God is listening! 

Then follow up by obeying these words from Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). Ask God right now to reveal His plan for your life, and commit to following Him! Go ahead, He’s listening! Praise God; the large distance is closing! 

Now, from this day on, be sure to take your gos-pill (gospel) every day! We need God’s words to keep us strong in the faith found only in Jesus Christ. The Psalmist declares that God’s words “are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22 ESV). Don’t you believe that, too? If so, embrace God’s Word, don’t distance yourself from it!  

God Isn’t You-Distancing

If you’ve been practicing God-distancing, remember that God never distances Himself from us. Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (NKJV). Our God longs with eternal love to fellowship with us. He waits for us to close the gap we’ve created through God-distancing.

Remember, God never forces us to come to Him—but He truly wants us to! If we don’t, He knows we’ll likely become like the prodigal son described in Luke 15:11-32. Even if we do, God will receive us back if we but ask Him to forgive and restore us. He doesn’t want us in such a dire spiritual condition. Jesus doesn’t want us to miss out on the abundant life He offers by His love, mercy, and grace. Jesus paid for our redemption on the cross. Praise God! 

Gambling with God, and a Word of Encouragement 

If a professing Christian prefers to continue in God-distancing, they will undoubtedly continue to experience the tragic side effects. But they’re making a big gamble! None of us know when our lives will end—the only invincible being is God! In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus warned, “‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21 ESV). I want to be ready, don’t you? We can be! 

Let me finish with a word to those of you who walk in faithful fellowship with God. I encourage you to keep walking close to Jesus. Keep relying on Him! Keep drawing close to Him in quiet times and throughout the day. The Holy Spirit will lead you! God will continue to dispense His supernatural fruit and gifts to you and provide your every need according to his riches in glory. He loves you with an everlasting and steadfast love and always will! That’s another reason why I say—no more God-distancing! 

God bless you today as you draw close to the Lord,

Brian Mark Weller
Brian Mark Weller is the founder of Message Ministries and a Christian teacher with a passion for world missions. Brian met the Lord in 1974 and entered public ministry soon after in 1976. In 1988, God gave Brian a special gift — a piercing burden for lost souls on the mission field. Since then, Brian has traveled the nations preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. He has recorded 9 albums of challenging Christian music and published one stirring book — Backsliding in Heart: 5 Steps to a Backsliding Heart and Back Again. He currently lives with his wife Anne in St. Petersburg, FL. He has three grown children and three grandchildren. Click here to learn more about Brian, access his Bible teaching, or invite him to minister at an event.

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