In my job, I see many sick computers. There are several ways computers can start to fail. Sometimes malicious software (malware) and viruses can infect a machine and grind its processors to a halt. At other times, they have been running too long and need to restart to clean out the junk which clutters their memory. An especially aggravating malady to afflict our computers at work is that they quit trusting the domain. When that trust relationship fails, they will no longer allow users to log on. I requires being taken off the domain and reintroducing the computer to the domain in order to get them to trust each other again.
As I was deep into administering some TLC to a cart of computers this week, it struck me that similar things can interfere in our walk with the Lord.
Sin is far worse than any virus/malware at bringing destruction. It interrupts our communication with God. Sin starts destroying our testimony, and left unchecked (repented of), it leads to the destruction of our lives.
There are also times in my life in which I need a fresh start. The junk in life starts to clutter my mind and distract me from God’s purpose. It is good to occasionally clear out the junk which distracts us and wastes our resources.
Finally, many lose their trust relationship with God. They forget their place in the Kingdom. Like the prodigal son, they move on and forget their heavenly Father. It never changes the fact that God is their Father, but they get out in the pigpens of the world and need to be reintroduced. They need to remember who they are and what God has provided for them.
Hopefully, we will learn from the machines and not let sin contaminate, junk to clutter, and trust to wane.
I once asked an older gentleman how he was doing and he replied, “I’m getting by ok.” This exchange is typical in central Texas for hello. However, I began thinking how many of settle for just getting by. How many times do we just go through the motions and settle for making it through another day of mediocrity?
As children of God, we are called to so much more. C. S. Lewis argued in his sermon “The Weight of Glory” that we often set the bar to low. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” In comparison to what God wants to give us, the best this world can offer is toys, trinkets and tinsel.
We need to set our sights higher than just getting by. Scripture says that we are joint heirs with Jesus, royal priests, sons and daughters of God, more than conquerors, etc. None of the descriptions I read inspire me to just get by. Raise the bar and go for it! Live life. Do not settle for merely enduring it.
Remember what Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10 NKJV). We will one day appear before Christ and give an account of how we managed this gift of life He gave to us. In that day, I do not want to say, “I got by…..” On that day, I want to know that I entered heaven having really lived and experienced abundant life in Christ. Set your sights high!
It had to seem overwhelming. Moses, the man who had led Israel from slavery to freedom was gone! This same Moses had been the instrument God used to win a showdown with Pharaoh and all of the Egyptian “gods”. Remember, Moses was so close to God that his face shone from having been in God’s presence as he received the Law. Now, the mantle of leadership had fallen to Joshua. I would not want to be in Joshua’s sandals. Talk about a tough act to follow!
In verses 7-8 of the first chapter of Joshua, we find that Joshua did not have to act alone. He had the same help as Moses. It says, “Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 HCSB)
Look at the keys to success God gave Joshua. He promised to be with him wherever he went. In order to keep his steps on the right path, God advised Joshua to courageously observe His whole instruction. In other words, Joshua had to be bold in obeying God’s Law. He would be able to fulfill that by not deviating from the instructions of the Lord. Furthermore, Joshua was to keep the word in his daily life by reciting it day and night. In doing these things, he would fulfill the first instruction of carefully observing.God’s instructions handed down through Moses.
We need to courageously follow God today. What does courage have to do with it? It takes courage to live by God’s instructions when others are not. The world’s culture does not seem to enjoy absolutes. Yet God’s word is filled with several clear instructions. We must be bold like Joshua to stand for God even if nobody stands with us. Remember, even if nobody else is with us, God is! His promise is still in effect today. He is with us wherever we go, so why shouldn’t we have courage?
Every school day around 6:20 am, I get my two children corralled into the truck and we leave for the thirteen mike trek to school. We get to do this because my daughter has choir and recorder practice early every morning. She also likes to read. Being dark in the truck at that hour, she has devised a scheme to get light by which she can read. She turns on a flashlight, and gets under her jacket or a blanket with her book. This usually works well, but the other morning, the blanket slipped and the truck was flooded with light. I couldn’t see the road or anything but the light. It was shocking!
The impact of that light reminded me of the story of Moses spending time with God. After making the second set of stone tablets, he returned to Mount Sinai. “Moses was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. He wrote the Ten Commandments, the words of the covenant, on the tablets. As Moses descended from Mount Sinai — with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain — he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:28-29 HCSB)
Moses had spent time with God and it showed. His face shown with God’s glory. I wonder if we reflect the glory of God like that? Perhaps our lives don’t shine with holy glory because we aren’t putting the time in with God. There is no shortcut that I have found in this. It takes time. Spending time with the Lord in prayer and in His word is an investment we must make if we want to reflect His glory to the world around us. We should want the world to see God when they look at us. That doesn’t happen just by saying it. We must invest the time with God.
Last night I was teaching road safety to my Cub Scout den. We went over walking on the left so that you face oncoming traffic, crossing the street at crosswalks, looking both ways when crossing the street, etc. It struck me that there are a lot of hazards to consider when just walking in our neighborhood. Why do we spend the time discussing and practicing these things? Failure to follow safety rules can lead to injury and death.
It stirred me to think about our “other” walk. You know the one to which I’m referring. Our spiritual walk is often like an untrained child playing and running in the road with no thought about possible hazards. We often do what feels right at the moment, or what we see others doing. We are often too careless and haphazard in our walk with Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-16 HCSB says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time,[a] because the days are evil.” We are advised to pay careful attention to our walk. We can’t afford to coast and drift through life. That way surely leads to dangers. We must be wise and walk with a purpose. That purpose is to glorify God. In all things, we must carefully choose our steps. What dangers lurk out there in the spiritual realm? The sudden oncoming heresies, those teachings, which may seem harmless but are hurtling toward us and can wreak havoc upon our faith. There also ditches to avoid. When we stray from the path the Lord has laid out for us, we can land in sin and error. In addition to all that we can bring on ourselves, Satan, our advisory, is a lion roaming around looking for easy prey. If we are careless, we could be his next victims