We cannot coast in our Christian life. It’s like paddling upstream; once we stop, we drift back downstream.
16 Whoever strays from the path of righteousness and prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.
15:24 The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep them from going down to the grave.
How was the path of Christ described to you when you came to Christ? Was it all love and peace and joy with lots of flowers and sunshine? Yes, those things are present, but Jesus described it another way,
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
The problem people have with keeping the Christian life…well, Christian is this important fact, “Very truly I [Jesus] tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7, 9. It’s not about what we do, but Who we follow. Whose voice are we hearing and obeying? Is it Jesus’ voice? Do we hear the Holy Spirit whisper to us and nudge us in our inner person? Are we spending enough effective time with Him to know the nuance of His direction? Consider these exhortations:
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling [work your salvation from the inside out], 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act [to give us the desire and the power] in order to fulfill his good purpose [and do His will]. Philippians 2:12-13
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11. What things? I’m glad you asked…
- God gives us His divine power according to His own glory and goodness. We believe His very precious promises and by faith we act on them (v.3-4a).
- Through those promises, we get to participate in the divine nature of God, thus escaping the world’s corruption and entrapment (v. 4b).
- There is a sequence: Faith in His promises make us like Him, which leads to goodness, the very nature of God, which causes us to study to increase our knowledge of His will and His ways, which gives us self-control, which comes through perseverance, thus leading to godliness (being like God), through which we enjoy mutual affection (brotherly love) for each other, and finally, we obtain God-love, which is His compassion for all His creation.
- We must possess these qualities in increasing measure in order to be effective and productive in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as our walk with Him, our fellowship with Him, our service to Him, our worship of Him, and becoming like Him.
- To NOT possess these qualities in increasing measure means that we are spiritually nearsighted and even blind; we will have forgotten that we have been cleansed from past sins and will be drawn back into that quagmire (2 Peter 2:22).
Look at the promises given us:
- We will never stumble. Who keeps us from stumbling (from doubting that the Christian life is really worth it)? “To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy: King Jesus!
- We will receive a rich welcome into the His eternal kingdom!
To summarize: Let’s challenge the status quo. As my pastor puts it, let’s up our game. In all our spiritual endeavors, let’s push a little more, go a little farther, ask a little more earnestly, and expect God to grant us our heart’s desire as we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4).
Abba, I pray for my readers that You will set a fire in their spirits to be more, do more, and learn more about You, Your Plan, and our part in Your Plan. I know You are ready and willing, and are looking for those who are ready and willing. If we are not ready, then get us there; if we are not willing, then give us an attitude adjustment! I lean heavily on this verse for us: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9. Lord, may our hearts be fully committed to You. Amen.