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This is part 2 of 4 in the Bad Advice sermonlink series. Find this and other pursueGOD.org sermons on YouTube here.

At some point in your life, you’ve probably lost your passion for a certain television show, restaurant, or fashion style that you once really enjoyed. In the same way, you can lose your passion for God, too. If you’ve drifted from God, then you may have less passion for God’s Word, less interest in church, and less desire to be part of a small group. The good news is that if you find yourself in this situation, it’s possible to get close to him again.

Jesus told a parable that helps us determine if we are drifting from God or not. This is often called the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23). The parable describes a farmer who scattered seed in four different places. These four places represent the different ways that the human heart responds to God. The seed scattered on the path represents those who hear God’s word, but have no interest in it. The seed in the rocky soil represents people who joyfully hear God’s word, but fall away when they are made fun of for following Jesus. The seed that fell among thorns represents people who initially respond to God’s word, but get swept away from it by the cares of life. Finally, the seed that fell in good soil represents those who listen to and obey God’s word and experience tremendous growth.

Matthew 13:23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

By looking at some bad advice, we can get a better idea of why we’ve drifted from God. So if you want to move further away from God, follow these five pieces of advice:

Bad Advice #1: Neglect Your Time with God

If you want to make sure that you never get close to God again, then don’t spend any time with him. Don’t read the Bible and don’t go to church. If you do go to church, don’t participate. Focus on all the things that annoy you about the church. All you need to do is ignore God and act like he doesn’t exist.

Bad Advice #2: Hang Around the Wrong People

It’s nearly impossible to follow God if you only hang around rotten people, so do that. Don’t try and share your faith with them. Simply let their bad character corrupt you, too.

Bad Advice #3: Give in to Temptation

Indulge yourself in every sin that you want to commit. Focus on the fun of sin, and don’t get caught up in the consequences. Rationalize your sin by believing that this is just how you are and nothing can change. If you must, ask God to forgive you, but then keep on sinning.

[Related: Playing Games with Your Sin]

[Related: 10 Sinful Responses to Sin]

Bad Advice #4: Love This World More Than You Love God

Focus on everything but God. Be greedy and materialistic. Obsess over things like sports, fitness, or your favorite hobby. Immerse yourself in social media.

1 John 2:15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

Bad Advice #5: If All Else Fails, Fake It

Pretend that you are close to Jesus. Don’t worry if you really aren’t. Look like a Christian on the outside.

The point of all that bad advice was to show you why you might be drifting from God. If you are doing any of these things, now is the time to heed God’s warning. The parable of the seeds also tells us how to get back to God. Return to God by asking him to change your heart and listening intently to his word. You can come back to God. It’s not too late.

[Related: What Is Repentance?]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is the worst advice you’ve ever heard about God?
  3. What did your life look like when you were most passionate about God?
  4. Which of the five pieces of bad advice were the easiest to identify with? Why?
  5. Read Matthew 13:19-23. Which soil are you most like currently? Why did you choose that soil?
  6. Read Psalm 63:1. What is David’s attitude toward God in this verse? How can you develop this attitude?
  7. Read James 1:14-15. What kind of death is James referring to in this passage? Why is it important to know the end result of giving into our temptations?
  8. Read 1 John 2:15. What are some ways you might love your life more than God?
  9. Make a plan for reading and thinking about God’s word on a regular basis.
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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