I don’t know about you, but I have a real struggle with letting all that God has done for me sink in. What I mean by that is that when it comes to Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross, I understand it, but it doesn’t affect me in the way I feel it should. I don’t know; maybe I have been a Christian too long. Perhaps I have grown accustomed to being saved.
The Danger of Comfortability
As you know, I am a truck driver. There is one rule that all truckers go by. It is an unspoken rule, but everyone adheres to: Don’t get comfortable behind the wheel. The reason for this rule is that once you become accustomed to driving and you think you are a great truck driver (we call it being a “Super Trucker”) and you know all the rules and follow them, it is then that you make a rookie mistake.
For instance, perhaps you forget to set your parking brake, don’t signal before a turn, or you misjudge a curve. Other issues come about with the job. Forgetting to open or close a valve can cause a serious problem. The point is that when a driver becomes comfortable with the routine, he becomes a danger to himself and everyone else on the road.
I believe the same rules can apply to those of us who call ourselves a Christian. The long timers, those who cannot remember a day that we were not saved, can get so used to being a child of God, that we forget the real meaning of it all. The cross does not bring us to our knees. Jesus dying for us no longer brings tears to our eyes. The resurrection and victory over death and the grave do not cause us to jump up and shout, “Glory!!”
We become dangerous to others when we do not take Christ seriously. I become a danger to you and everyone I meet if I do not express the love God has for you. And He does love you… He does love me. His love goes beyond any understanding of the word. I even sit here confounded at how to express it in words. But I guess that is the fullness of it; for it to be beyond understanding.
So, how about you? What goes through your heart and mind when you “survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died?” Does it grab hold of you? Does it drive you to your knees with the realization He is dying for you? For me?
I so want it to be real again. I so want to feel the gratitude I should feel, that I have felt in the past when it was new. I have tried to really focus. I have looked at each of my three sons and thought about willfully sending one of them to die for my enemy. Yes, it is easy to say that I could do that. Easy to say that you could do that. But in reality, could we? Would we? Could I be like Abraham and go through it until the voice of God stopped me?
In His Love
God did not spare His Son but sent him into a sinful world to be the sacrifice for all. John 4:10 tells us, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” In His love. His love so strong that back in John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” A verse that is the heart of Christianity. And here is me, claiming it, but not allowing it to fill me with the gratefulness it once did.
I like to think I live a good life, but is that enough? Is it enough for us to rest in the guaranteed saving grace of once-saved-always-saved? I don’t think it is. It rests in what we do with our saving grace. As the child’s song we grew up with declares, we cannot hide our light under a bushel, NO!! We are to let it shine. On that line, we are not to let Satan blow it out either. And in becoming comfortable with our saved status, we are doing just that.
It’s now time to take a stand. To not let the ho-hum of life get us down. Feeling numb to the power of the cross and the joy of our salvation must be overcome. The real question is, how do we get through the hard times in our walk with Christ?
Getting Through Hard Times
Wayne Watson talks about that very subject. He sings, “When our world falls to pieces, we pick up the one thing that matters most; we learn to hold on to Jesus. There is no other place to know the strength of your faith but in hard times.”
The struggle is real. You may be going through it as well. If you aren’t, give it time. The longer we are Christians, the easier it can become to taking it for granted. I know I am at that point in my life. And I am battling through it. Keeping my focus even when the reality of God’s power seems worlds away. So, I request your prayers as I try and find my way through the fogginess of my faith. And I will pray for each of you as you battle with the same emotionless struggle.
I know that there is the sin factor. Sin can be the most significant stumbling block to genuine faith a Christian can face. The guilt of being a dirty-rotten good-for-nothing sinner that doesn’t deserve a second glance, let alone the love and compassion of a savior. To those who have this mountain to climb, Jesus can make that mountain a molehill, heck he can make it a level plain. All we need to do is sincerely ask for forgiveness. Then turn away from that sin and walk away from that old way of life. Even the repetitive sin, we keep finding ourselves in.
Hard times will come. God never promised us we would have a blissful, problem-free life. He promised us grace. He promised He would go through the struggle with us. You may recall that no story in the Bible spoke of anyone who went through life with no problems. The Bible is filled with story after story of trouble, strife, sin, hardship, more sin, denial, and even more sin. But in each instance, grace and forgiveness were in abundance. Restoration came to those with a repentant heart.
Stepping Back into Grace
Whether it be sin or silence, the separation from God can be all too real. It has been said that if you feel far from God, guess who is the one who left? It is us, most of the time, who has stepped away from Christ. The good news is that there is never a place that is too far from his love and grace. All we need to do is realize it, accept it, face it, repent of it, and move back close to him.
I know I have neglected my time with God. I do my daily reading and then move on with my day. It has become part of my checklist of things to do today. That is what’s getting in the way; me. How can I expect for the relationship to continue to mean something when I don’t spend time with the one who I am supposed to have the feelings for?
I know that my wife and I would grow apart if we did not spend quality time together. If I did not take the time to cherish her and the things she brings to my life, then those things would eventually carry no meaning. If I did not list my blessings one by one, then she would become just someone I live with. It’s when we take the time to say something and spend time together, that we grow together.
The same is with Christ. I need to get past my laziness, cause that’s what it is; laziness. I can make excuses until the cows come home, but that does not change the fact that I am in control of how much time I spend with my Savior. You are in control or how much time you spend with Him. And when we give that time to Him, then those feelings of how much He means to us will be rekindled.
Prayer. Daily Reading. Using our gifts. All of these play their role in a healthy Christian life. When one is out of sync, then the others will not work the way they should. Let’s make a fresh and new commitment to spending time with Christ. Live our lives in an attitude of prayer. Refreshing daily with reading his word and applying it to our life. Finally, using the gifts, He has given us to glorify His name and ministering to others who may be dealing with the same struggles we face.
I am ready. How about you?