It has been said, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is its depth!” While this statement may provoke a smile, there is more than a little truth in it.
Why does anyone choose to live in a boring rut? Because while ruts have their definite downside, they also seem to give us something we want: safety, predictability, security.
But is holing up in our little comfortable cocoon really living? And can it really guarantee invincibility?
Consider Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13ff. This man hoarded his goods on this side of eternity, expecting to enjoy his good fortune for a long time, not realizing his life was coming to a screeching halt. Tragically, while rich in this world’s stuff, he was poor toward God.
But even if we can successfully shield our lives from trouble for a season, what kind of life is that really? While we may be “safe” living this way, it also effectively insulates us from the adventurous life of faith God has planned for us.
And real joy comes not from being safe, but from courageously following our King. God calls His people to trust Him, to take gutsy steps of faith which show His power and ultimately provide us with joy in His presence.
As I mention a few heroes of the faith described in the pages of Scripture, consider what they teach us from their lives: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, Peter, Paul, and the apostles. Each of these men and women courageously (though never perfectly) chose to seek God and His will rather than hide in the shadows of safety and comfort.
And obeying God does not guarantee serenity on this side of eternity. As the journal of faith in Hebrews 11 chronicles, many followers of God in the Bible and human history have paid a huge price for their faithful obedience. Regardless, we can be assured that all who courageously obey will rejoice forever that God has given them the privilege to follow and the grace to persevere.
Because we in America have had such a long season of relative peace and freedom, it’s tempting for us to conclude that comfort and security are our God-given rights.
Yes, our heavenly Father promises never to leave us or forsake us, and to meet our basic needs as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness. But He also told us we would be hated and persecuted like Jesus was, because even as American citizens, we are not of this world.
It’s critical to remember that we are now at war with invisible but very real spiritual forces of evil. And, compared to eternity, this life is a mere blip (though a very important one!) on the radar screen.
So we need to live with our hearts and minds set on heaven (Colossians 3:1-4), with the goal of laying up treasures there (Matthew 6:19-21) while still loving God and our neighbors here with all that we are (Luke 10:27-28).
Imagine how your city and our nation would be blessed if every follower of Christ actually lived with this eternal mindset! If every Christian began each day expressing to God his or her willingness to follow the Spirit’s promptings to sacrificially love those around them by sharing the gospel and meeting human needs in Jesus’ name.
Would this not be the revival we long for?