I learned an important lesson in Minnesota. In the winter. On the roads. Don’t want to do it again.
In January, 2010 I flew into Minneapolis to speak in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Fergus Falls is a long drive from Minneapolis and, to make matters worse, I was making this trip right after a significant snowstorm! I know what you’re thinking, “Surprise, Surprise, snowstorm in Minnesota in January!”
Anyway, I started driving and quickly found out that only one lane of the interstate was navigable. There were deep ruts formed in the snow, so I knew that as long as I stayed in the ruts I’d be ok. About an hour into the drive a thought came to mind. If I set the cruise control maybe I could let go of the steering wheel, set my alarm and take a nap. Ok, ok….bad idea. I quickly dismissed that thought, even though a quick nap sounded so good.
As I continued driving I noticed lots of cars had gone off the road and into the ditch. That usually happens when a driver loses control trying to turn out of the rut and begins to slide. It can be difficult getting out of the ruts.
Reflecting on the situation, I began to think about how this is similar to something that happens to many Christians. Many are in a spiritual rut! They even settle into their rut, put their spiritual life on “cruise control” and maybe even take a nap (remember I said that was a very bad idea — and it is, both for driving and in our spiritual lives).
What do I mean by “cruise control” or a “napping” spiritual life? I’m talking about those who aren’t actively growing in their faith and aren’t sharing their faith with others. When it comes to walking out into the world, opening their mouths and sharing what the Lord is doing in their lives, they just aren’t doing it…they’re asleep at the wheel.
I don’t say this to condemn anyone. Remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). But we should all want to serve Him fully. I’m just a fellow pilgrim on this journey of life and when I fall into a rut, I need my brothers and sisters in Christ to challenge me to get out. So today I challenge you.
There are over 400,000 churches across the nation of America and I dare say that many of the Christians sitting in the pews are in a rut. Even if they want to do something to make an impact for the Lord, with the moral and ethical decline in our culture they are discouraged or worse fearful. In some ways it’s similar to the car that starts to turn out of the ruts and onto the snow covered road — it needs to be done with care and courage, trusting in your ability to navigate the car and not end up in the ditch. But just like we need to navigate the car of the rut and cross over to the exit in order to reach our destination, we need to get out of our rut and believe and trust in the ability we have to move forward and share our faith.
It starts with saying, “Here am I Lord, send me!” (Isa. 6:8). And then trusting, that He will equip us for what He commissions us to do. Remember, God doesn’t always call powerful to do His work, but He always empowers the called!
I want to discuss three things that might be keeping you in a rut and then encourage to get out of the rut, using God’s Word:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Make sure that you’re sold out for the Lord Jesus Christ and that it’s not just a social relationship that you’re trying to get by on. Remember that He is your Lord and Savior and not your buddy. The old man is dead and the new man now lives.
Do you believe that? Then live your life in a way that reflects it. When lack of faith keeps you in a rut…ask for His help…Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:46)
You aren’t in the dark. You can see clearly now because the light of Jesus Christ dwells in you. Believe that! And, if you’re still in a rut, examine yourself.
Is there a sin that you need to deal with before you can more fully serve the Lord? Remember: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Doubt and fear
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Is it fear of man that keeps you from fully serving the Lord? Remember the Lord’s words…
….fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul…(Matthew 10:28)
Don’t fear any man. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Back to my snowstorm driving experience. Whenever I find myself in situations like that, I like to remember something I heard in a country song ….
“Jesus take the wheel, take it from my hand, cause I can’t do this on my own!”
So, whether it’s unbelief, sin, doubt or fear that’s keeping you in a rut, believe that you have His power living in you to help you over come it. Turn the “wheel” of your life over to the Lord and trust that He is in control and will direct your life. He gives you His strength and remember that He promises to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
He can and will get you out of any rut’ in your life and He put you on a road to an amazing journey!