Early this morning I opened the car door at the dry cleaners. The icy wind cut through my legs like a knife. Aaaaaaargh. Enough already. Single digits be gone!
But, I’m giddy to report, I think we’ve turned a corner. It’s entirely (as in, 100%) sunny outside my office window, and the forecast for Tuesday is 65 degrees. Yes, the weather icon for that day includes a lightning bolt, but I’m all for a little thunder and lightning if we can also enjoy the 65 degrees. Spring is no longer a distant hope, my friends. When I see you Sunday, we can officially bid each other a “Happy March!” February was brutal – the coldest since the dawn of weather records in Paducah’s history – but it’s nearly over.
So how’s your walk with Christ? Maybe you’ve taken a bit of a winter hiatus in your spiritual pilgrimage. That kind of thing can slip up on us, you know. Just as we can throw dietary caution to the wind and eat our way from Thanksgiving through the New Year – and well beyond – sometimes it’s easy to lapse into a bit of spiritual laziness during the season of crackling fires and long winter naps.
Unfortunately, however, spiritual laziness can leave behind more unwanted residue than even fudge and frosted cookies. So, if that describes you, consider this is your personal call to action: GET BACK IN THE RACE!
Joel R. Beeke, president of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, writes: “The Christian life is a race. Through the gospel, God summons us to sustained and persevering effort. He empowers His children by grace – free and undeserved blessing through Christ. But He does not carry them to heaven on flowery beds of ease. Faith is a living, athletic grace. God’s mercy motivates Christians and energizes them to press on and overcome great obstacles. Christ blazed the trail before us. He now calls us to follow Him to the end (Hebrews 12:1-2).”
“But, Pastor Charles, you’ve been calling us to rest in Christ!” Indeed I have. And the word today is not in contradiction of that. We find our identity, purpose, value, and passion for all of life in Christ. We stand on faith alone, but not on a faith that is alone. Our faith in Jesus Christ is accompanied by purposeful living for His glory. So get back in the race.
During the brunt of the last winter storm that was mostly snow (instead of ice), I laughed out loud when I drove by the car (just a few blocks from the church) in this photo that I’m sharing with you today. Look familiar? It’s how some of us feel right now.
But, by faith, we are not bogged down. We are not snowed under. We are not stuck in a ditch. We are not unable to reach the finish line. Instead, we choose to pursue “with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
So go ahead and face that trial of yours head-on. Embrace it as a tool in your Master’s hand for your eternal good (and nothing less). Smile in the face of that hurdle that you’ve been asking God to remove. He will, in due time.
But for now, just get back in the race!