“I have a question for you, Stan,” I said one morning after Ricky had taken our breakfast orders.
“Let’s see if I have an answer,” Stan replied with a smile. “What’s up?”
“It seems to me,” I said, “that some people in the church move along quickly in a growing relationship with God, but there are others who seem to never make any progress in that direction. You have any idea why that happens?”
“I not only have an idea about that,” Stan replied, “I can pretty much guarantee that I know at least one person’s answer because I’m a prime example of one who was real slow in wanting to develop a relationship with God.”
“Why do you think you were slow in wanting that?”
“Many reasons,” Stan replied, “but the bottom-line best answer for me is that I simply didn’t realize the wonder than awaited me in drawing ever closer to God in a deepening relationship.”
“For me,” he continued, “once I had accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation through the finished work of Christ on the cross, I just kind of sat there. I wasn’t going backwards, but I sure wasn’t going forward either.”
“So,” I replied, “the problem was kind of like the failure to overcome inertia. A stationary object won’t move without effort.”
“Exactly,” Stan responded. “I was a stationary object that didn’t move off of where I was because I couldn’t see any reason for doing so. As a result, I didn’t exert any effort to move from where I was.”
“But you eventually found a reason,” I said more as a statement than a question.
“That’s right. Once I began to have an idea about what was expected of me in response to what God had done for me through the finished work of the cross, I began to overcome the inertia. But it was a slow process that, I think in retrospect, was a little irritating to God.”
“God got irritated with you for not moving?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, “as a matter of fact, I don’t know if God gets irritated, but if He does, He had lots of reasons to be irritated with me!”
“Then what?” I asked.
“One day I was praying,” Stan replied. “I was being totally open in telling God I didn’t know what to do about drawing closer to Him. And all of a sudden it was like a flash that showed me that God was waiting with more than I could even imagine. He was waiting for me to give Him all of me in exchange for all of Him.”
“All of Him in an exchange?” I stated. “God does that?”
“I think He does,” Stan said. “And even more, I have come to believe that’s what Jesus talked about when He talked about the three steps of discipleship.”
“Getting me out of the way so I could take up all that God had for me to take up in following Him.”
“As simple as that?” I asked.
“As simple as that,” Stan replied. “But remember that just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Overcoming inertia never is!”
Bible verses to consider:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have provided the way for me to be in your presence for all of eternity when my time here is done. Thank you, too, for the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then. I confess that too often I do not pursue knowing you and Jesus the way you intend. I do that because I choose to do something else apart from you. Please forgive the foolishness of that approach to living the life you have given me. And please help me to follow your every step into the deepest possible personal relationship based on knowing and following you and Jesus. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One I am to follow. Amen.
Think on this: Have you overcome the inertia of being separated from God so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not see that as something vital? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with drawing ever closer to God in a deepening personal relationship? If you sense you are stuck and having trouble in overcoming the inertia that keeps you from moving closer to God, and you want to change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?