Sunday, November 06, 2011

There is no coasting in this walk of faith.

God refuses to let me coast in this Christian journey.

coast (verb)
--to continue to move or advance after effort has ceased; keep going on acquired momentum;
--to advance or proceed with little or no effort … (dictionary.com)

Yep. I can't coast. I like to get momentum and then keep going after effort has ceased. I like to advance with little or no effort. I really do. But it doesn't work that way for me in the Christian life. I TRY to coast. Often after particularly fruitful times, I try to keep up momentum without doing any work. I get distracted from reading my Bible. I may still pray as I go, but I don't stop and cry out to God on my knees. But my walk with God just doesn't work that way.

I'm utterly dependent on Him day by day. My sister says that if she doesn't get time alone with God on any given morning, we really don't want to be around her that day. I'm learning the same about myself.

I read this quote on a friend's Facebook page.

“No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for neglect of the King Himself.” –R.M. M’Cheyne

That quote has me pegged, and the author is exactly right. But it is so easy to fall in the ministry trap—where you are talking to others about Christian things so much that you forget your personal relationship with Christ. You talk more ABOUT Christ than TO Christ. I thank God He doesn't let me get away with that for long. I thank Him because HE is my inheritance. God is the gospel, and that personal relationship with Him is the culmination of all the good that Christ accomplished for me on the cross. When I try to feast on Christian things instead of Christ Himself, I wither up and die.

I never excelled at 30 minute morning devotions, even when I didn't have kids and was in Christian environments that pressured me to do them. I just am not very self disciplined. But there is nothing like utter desperation to get you doing something you've never been able to do with simple self discipline. I now keep a New Testament with Psalms along with a highlighter and magnifying bookmark (because I'm getting that old) next to my reading chair and laptop. I don't get 30 minutes to read/pray. But I take 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. I'm just reading the Psalms right now, because that's about all my desperate heart can process. I envision one day reading a book of the Bible and researching it thoroughly again. I want to write a study on I Peter. But for right now, I'm just clinging to the Psalms, comforted immensely that someone else has struggled with heavy burdens and that God saw fit to record their cries in His written word as they lived out their relationship with God.

It's so easy to get distracted from Christ by Christian things. But the walk of faith just doesn't work that way. The culmination of the cross is that the veil is torn that separated us from the throne of God. Christ cried out in that moment, “It is finished!” And He had done all that He came to do when He opened the way for us to have free access to God Himself. This access to God is the heart of the gospel. God Himself is the gift. God is the gospel, and may we all remember we will wither in ministry for Him without availing ourselves of this relationship Christ has secured for us.

Psalms 73
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

6 comments:

  1. This was incredibly convicting and something I needed to hear this morning. It started this morning when I read a tweeted quote from Zig Ziglar, "The only way to coast is downhill." I felt a little prick then. Then in worship this morning, the pastor declared that the three greatest words Jesus uttered from the cross were, "It is finished." And then finally I pulled up your post this afternoon. Oh, You were talking to *me*, Lord. :)

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  2. I also saw this challenging question on my FB newsfeed: "Are you talking further than you're walking?" I am blessed with many FB friends who love the Lord and often put these things out there for consideration.

    Coasting is the perfect word for this. I've heard it said often through the years that if we are not moving forward we are moving backward. I would add, "...perhaps with the illusion of continuing momentum." And would not the deceiver delight in this? Facade is something he adores. May I recognize it more readily, and be genuine!

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  3. Thanks for the post...this topic has been on my heart a lot this week. Its good to know that someone who has wrote Christian books can be as silly as I am and talk about Christ and at Christ but not to Him at times also.

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  4. Thank you for your honesty on this issue. It is for what seems a long time a place I have been residing. Maybe I can admit it too, and draw near to God in those small but hopeful ways.

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  5. I have been drawn lately to these passages about God being my inheritance and my portion. You've shed some light here on what that means. It's not "Christian activities" that are my portion, nor are "Christian things" my inheritance. He Himself is.

    And coasting would imply that it's about activity. When really, it's about Him... basking in the light of His presence. It can be 5 minutes at a time, as long as it's not about just checking the next Psalm off the reading list, but rather about letting His Word be the conduit TO Him.

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  6. You write: "But it is so easy to fall in the ministry trap—where you are talking to others about Christian things so much that you forget your personal relationship with Christ. You talk more ABOUT Christ than TO Christ."
    This can be so true. I'm thankful I have been able to get back into a routine of reading His word in the morning and praying.

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