Monday, August 16, 2021

No Time For Cruising

Cruise control (sometimes known as speed control or auto cruise) is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. Most automobiles today come equipped with this convenient feature. When this feature is engaged at the desired speed (hopefully equal to or lower than the legal speed limit) the driver can ease back and relax a little. The driver doesn't have to watch the speedometer nor be uncomfortable due to his foot putting constant pressure on the accelerator.

For many in a local church today, cruise control has become their approach to Christianity. We press the accelerator of faith, love, obedience, service, etc., until we have brought our life up to a certain level (speed). The gauge that we use to do this is mostly based upon the standard of Christianity of those around us. We don't want to lag behind others because we want to be as spiritual as they are. However, at the same time we are not motivated enough to forge ahead of them because we wouldn't want to be different. We just want to blend in with the level of Christianity of those around us. In other words, we do not want to rock the boat.

Once we have arrived at the desired level of Christianity, we set the cruise control. Now we can sit back and relax letting our desired level of Christianity take over. We don't have to watch, as it were, the highway signs of God's Word that empowers us to exercise godliness as well as transforming us more and more into the image and likeness of Christ. This attitude is also called comfortable Christianity. It is the place where we can become satisfied with what we have and all we need in Christ. Although some may disagree, there is another term that describes the same, "Fire insurance Christianity." It's the idea that one has enough Christianity (which is based on an individuals own standard) that will keep them from going to hell.

The sad thing is, this is not the Christianity of the Bible. Our comfortable Christianity has led many in the church down the path of apathy where our concerns are focused upon our kingdom and not Gods. It has caused many to have faith in the world rather than God. What I mean by this is that we are quick to work overtime (there is nothing wrong or evil working overtime) to make ends meet at the expense of family, rather than really believing, "my God shall supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) The same attitude causes many to call a doctor before even considering calling upon the Healer, "Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) (There is certainly nothing wrong with most doctors. They help people and even save lives) Divorce among those who attend a local church is not much different than that of a lost world. This type of Christianity has also opened the door for the twisted thinking of atheists to convince many in the church that there is a separation between church and state when in fact we have the privilege of the freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) He also said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:18-20) We cannot seek the fullness of God's kingdom and obey the great commission if we are only seeking our kingdoms. The apostle Paul said, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." (Philippians 3:7-9) Is this how we value our Christianity? If not, we should. This should not be the apostle Paul's desire only, but for all believers.

Next, Paul says, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Philippians 3:10) This also should be the aspiration of every believer. We should desire to have Christ formed in us so much, that His life working in and through us has a profound affect on all those around us. Finally, Paul goes on to say, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind..." (Philippians 3:12-15) Notice in Paul's conclusion he says, "Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind..."

It's apparent that any believer who lives by cruise control, comfortable Christianity is an immature believer and needs to be brought to these truths so their life can be transformed into the image of Jesus not conformed into the image of the world that Jesus Christ has freed us from. But for the mature believer, our thinking concerning "growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) should be a never ending desire to want to be like Christ. It's not about not having enough time, money or education. I believe it comes down to one of two things.  Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) and or "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) It comes down to a heart issue or an issue of the devil's deceptions to keep Christians weak, sickly and faithless.

So, let us once again turn this world upside down by letting Jesus to be formed in us and being doers of the Word not hearers only...      

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