If you want to grow strong, you have to put forth effort. Getting stronger muscles requires lifting weights and strength training. You do not one day just wake up and say, “Be strong.” When it comes to life with Jesus, our faith walk requires a work out too.
“Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him” (Colossians 2:6 NIV). As you continue to follow Jesus, walking in faith even when you cannot see ahead, your roots will grow deep. Your life will start being built on Him. “Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Today, do a strength check. Have you been working out your faith muscles or are you resting in the comfort zone? Are you walking with Jesus or have you been idling? If someone would check, would your roots be deep or could you be yanked out of the ground by a small breeze?
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7 [NLT]
The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.
We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.
Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
Whenever I leave the house, I usually grab a pair of my Chucks from the laundry room and head out. There are moments when I am taking a walk and realize that my shoestrings are loose because I didn’t take enough time getting ready. In a pair of Converse, it is my opinion that you can notice loose shoestrings easier. I could easily bend over and tighten the laces; however, I usually continue walking, hoping that the laces will hold out until the walk is finished. Many times, I find myself having to do more than tighten the laces, but retie my shoes because holding out doesn’t work. This takes longer, but I continue with this bad habit every time I feel the laces are loose.
In life, we often see “loose shoestrings” but we let them go. We turn a blind eye. We think it won’t get any worse. We plan to take care of it later. We don’t take the steps we know we should take to get everything resolved. We neglect the shoestrings. We let them come undone and drag on the ground. Sadly, we typically only need to take a few small steps to prevent or resolve the issue.
I am not talking about loose shoestrings alone. Consider the chaos that unfolds in life. Your sinful habits. Your unbalanced schedules. Your explosive relationships. Your lack of boundaries. Your hurtful words. Your life many times is the loose shoestring. But instead of veering back on the narrow path and correcting the issues, we put on Band-Aids. We cover up the issue. We pretend it is not there. Whenever we try to pretend—whenever we try to move forward with the lies and sin and chaos of this world—we are allowing the father of lies to continue to keep hold on us. Instead, bend over to tie your shoes! Grab hold of Truth. Cling to your Father. Allow Him to move in your life and watch what happens!
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.’
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
– Psalm 16:1-6 [ESV]
Everyone seeks pleasure. We all desire pleasure. There is an addiction to thrills that I am sure we each have dealt with at one time or another. We want to have fun. We want to have a good time. We love the rush. It makes us feel good; however, that pleasure goes away. It never lasts.
As much as we try to be satisfied by pleasure, it is a short time of happiness. It goes away quickly and we feel empty. Think of the great vacation plans and the joy felt in a beautiful environment, the peace felt relaxing on the beach or in a cabin. It is fun while it lasts but eventually you go back to work. Consider the thrill of a roller coaster ride, and then how quick the ride is over. The thrill never lasts.
We cannot get our fill of thrills because they so quickly pass. The void is then there. The only way to truly have pleasure in life, the only way to find satisfaction, is to have a relationship with Christ. With Christ, your life is never empty. With Christ, you are fully satisfied. With Christ, the void is filled. You can spend your entire life trying to achieve a lasting pleasure, trying to fill the void in your life and to be happy, but you will never truly be satisfied in life if Christ is not part of it.
“You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life!
The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.”
-Proverbs 21:17 [MSG]