While I was in England visiting my son and his family recently, we took a side trip to Italy! It was so much fun, and, since it was my first trip to Rome and Pisa, I’m sure I’ll be sharing about that soon (with photos). However, as most of you know, travel can have unplanned issues, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
After a couple days in Pisa, and then another couple in Rome, my little granddaughter became, let’s say,
intestinally lethargic. My son and daughter-in-law always provided plenty of water, and made sure there was a good supply of fruit and healthy food around, but we were in Italy, the land of pasta, cheese, and gelato.
While they did not let their children eat only cheese, pasta, and gelato, and they made sure there was plenty of walking, you can’t always prevent things from happening. No worries though, mommy and daddy knew just what she needed, and yes, even in Italy, you can buy toddler pouches of prugna secca: prunes. But, can you get a toddler to eat them?
And, what do you do if you’re a toddler and you don’t want to eat what is being offered — you make a plan. Of course, hers was a well-thought-out plan: When I cover my eyes I won’t see daddy, and daddy can’t possibly see me, and therefore I don’t have to eat what he is offering. Perhaps, he might even go get something that will tempt me to uncover my eyes and grace his presence with my smile.
Wrong. Daddy hung in there. He sat still. He waited. Even when she uncovered her eyes, and provided just enough drama to hopefully elicit a bit of sympathy and sway the situation, Daddy was unmoved. Finally, she gave in and ate the prugna secca. It was a good move (pun intended).
Many things have similar spiritual consequences in our lives that travel has on a toddler’s body. There are things we take in, or fail to take in, that cause us to become spiritually lethargic – or complacent. And, sometimes the effect is so gradual that we don’t realize it until we are in trouble.
When God sees what we are doing, and yes, he sees, we cannot cover our eyes and think we are getting away with anything – he offers us things that should prompt us to a healthier spiritual lifestyle. Just like my granddaughter’s parents offered her many healthy choices, God offers us healthy alternatives; but do we take advantage of them?
For the most part, we try to live out the Words of God, but it is so tempting – and so easy – to compromise every now and then. The fast and easy food of shallow sanctification is everywhere: the newest trend, the latest program, or the last movie. We live in a day when spiritual fast-food options are cropping up every day.
It is tempting to succumb, and, we are so busy in our every-day lives that instead of working our way through God’s Word, reading, digesting, applying, and letting it change us, we tend toward the easy way. And, yet, as busy as we are, how much time do we waste hunting for the perfect formula, the newest recipe, the quickest shortcut to quality spiritual life, the surest routine that will bring us closer to God, or the fewest words that will give us power to change our lives?
Do we really think, let alone believe, that there is a fast track, or fast spiritual food, that will give us the same nutrition that God’s Word will? Do we really think that we can zip through a quiet time drive-thru and get the same quality of nutrition that sitting still with God will give us? Fast food sanctification=spiritual lethargy.
When we fail to ingest the nutrients of God’s Word daily, there will be changes in our hearts and minds that are gradual and subtle, almost unnoticeable. However, the change is there and we see it as we distance ourselves from God and make choices that are not grounded in his Word, his character, or his will.
Nevertheless, God mercifully uses those choices, and their consequences to lead us back to healthy spirituality. Think of the most difficult circumstances of your life, are they the result of decisions you made when you were not spending quality time in God’s Word daily? Have those consequences led you back to God? to his Word? to quality time with him? If not, how much more will it take?
We know the cure, and God is sitting close to us, holding it out. We know that we need to confess our sin, repent (turn away from our sin, and turn to God – doing what God would have us do), and he will faithfully forgive us and cleanse us – no pun intended – from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
We know that reading God’s Word daily will change us, it will invigorate us, it will empower us, it will give us the intimacy with God that we desire. And, it will allow us to make decision that are in alignment with his good and perfect will for us (Romans 12:1-2).
Are you covering your eyes, hoping God won’t see you, hoping God will give you another way? Another more tasty alternative? Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). He is what you want. He is what you need. He is what will make your life powerful. He is the cure you are looking for. And his Word will bring you the nourishment that you desire and need.
If you want to do great things for God, if you want to be closer to him, if you want to live in his power, if you want to be spiritually healthy, there is only one way, you must spend great time with God. There is no fast path to sanctification – it takes your whole life, and it requires sitting before God and letting him feed you what we need. Will you take advantage of what he is offering you?
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