“I was walking the dog the other day,” Stan commented one morning “and I saw a neighbor’s truck sitting in his driveway. It was a mess.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“You would’t have believed the mud. The whole thing looked like it had been in a big mud fight and lost!”
“What was that all about?”
“As I was standing there wondering the same thing,” Stan replied, “my neighbor came out. He was pulling a garden hose and carrying a bucket of soapy water. I asked him what had happened.”
Continuing, he added, “He said he had been on his way to a camping get-away up in the wilderness area east of Weston. He said he came upon a sign that cautioned about a muddy road ahead, but figured that wouldn’t be a problem with his four-wheel drive truck.”
“But it was a problem?” I asked.
“Seems so,” Stan replied. “My neighbor said that about half-way though a real muddy spot he got stuck. He couldn’t go forward and he couldn’t back up. The wheels just kept spinning, throwing mud all over the place.”
“Well, after giving up trying to get the truck unstuck on his own, he was finally able to call someone to help. He said the cell service was real weak and he had a hard time, but he finally got someone. But it took just about forever for the tow truck to get there and get him unstuck. By then, it was too late to go camping so he headed back home.”
“In a real dirty truck!” I commented.
“That’s it,” Stan replied, “and his whole adventure reminds me of an essential part of a person’s faith walk, including my own.”
“In what way?”
“Being stuck. I call it being ‘stuck on conversion’.”
“Stuck on conversion? What’s that mean?”
“Well,” Stan responded, “it’s real easy to get the ticket on the train to glory. It just has to be accepted by faith as God’s free and gracious gift of salvation. However, as we’ve talked about before, that’s not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning, but too many people don’t do anything other than clutch their ticket. They’re stuck. Stuck on conversion.”
“What are they supposed to do?” I asked.
“The image of Christ.”
“By getting unstuck and becoming disciples through the three steps of discipleship,” Stan replied. “Deny self, take up what I am to take up, and follow.”
“Will that help a person from getting stuck on conversion?”
“I believe so,” Stan replied. “And I also believe that keeping from getting stuck is a life-long process. Not in the sense of losing my salvation, but in the sense of missing steps in being transformed. But when I do get stuck like that, there’s a solution. It’s kind of like calling the Holy Spirit and asking Him to show up with His tow truck. He will get me unstuck. Then it’s time to get home and clean up the mess.”
“By confessing and repenting?” I asked.
“You’ve got it my friend,” Stan replied.
Bible verses to consider:
And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15:49.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you, too, that you want me to draw ever closer to you in a personal relationship where I am manifesting the image of Jesus in and through the life you have given me to live on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I fail to manifest what you have for me to manifest. I do that because I choose to manifest myself apart from you. Please forgive me, and please help me to follow every step of your lead as you seek to lead me from conversion into an ever-deeper transformational personal relationship with you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation by faith so that you are converted? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with the part about being transformed into the image of Christ? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense there is something lacking, would you like to change that? Why or why not? If you want transformation, how is that going to happen? Can you do it on your own? Whose help do you need and how are you going to get it?