For Pete’s Sake, Go!

stop signal with cloudy skyWhat are you waiting for? Why aren’t you moving? How long are you going to sit there going nowhere?

We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of sitting behind someone stopped at a stop sign who, for all intents and purposes, seems to be waiting for a personal invitation to make their way into the intersection. If it’s a four-way stop, it’s even worse. They can sit there forever, waiting for everyone to go ahead of them, regardless of the right of way or basic driving etiquette. All the while, they are oblivious to all the cars stacking up behind them as they tentatively and persistently wait. As aggravating as this scenario is in real life, it is even worse in the spiritual world. It seems that there are many in the church today who have stopped somewhere along the way in their spiritual journey and are content to wait for everyone else to move along while they sit at the stop sign of life. These are people who somewhere along the way placed their faith in Jesus Christ, got on the path toward spiritual transformation, but who have stopped and never really started again. They’re stuck. They’re apprehensive as to what to do next, so they wait. They may even be somewhat content staying right where they are. No decision necessary. No movement needed. But that is NOT what Jesus Christ came to provide. He came that we might have life, but not just any kind of life, He offers us life to the full (John 10:10). So what are we waiting for? Why do so many of us find ourselves stuck and going nowhere in our spiritual lives? Because remaining stationary requires no risks. There are dangers involved. But there are also no joys to experience, no destinations at which to arrive, no sights to see along the way.

There are always going to be times along the way when we need to stop, take notice, reevaluate and watch for potential dangers. But we weren’t meant to remain in one place very long. Our salvation is to be progressive. Peter writes, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment” (1 Peter 2:2 NLT). God wants us to grow into a full experience of salvation, and that does not mean sitting around waiting for heaven to get here. It means that we are to experience all the joys, wonders, benefits and blessings that salvation in Christ offers right here, right now. We are to grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is. We are to increase in awe when we consider the amazing grace of God made possible through His Son’s death on our behalf. According to the apostle Paul, “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 ESV).

The Christian life is no place for stagnation or settling for the status quo. It is about constant transformation. “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son” (Romans 8:29 NLT). “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT). We are to become increasingly more like Jesus with each passing day. That takes movement and requires progress. Sitting still for too long can be dangerous and deadly. It breeds complacency. And our lack of spiritual progress can have a negative impact on all those who come behind us. They are watching us, waiting on us, and and sometimes unable to move because of us. Paul told young Timothy, his disciple, “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NLT). He wanted him to lead by example. He urged him to keep on keeping on, providing motivation for all those who looked to him for leadership. It was Paul who said, “I press on.” He was never satisfied with spiritual stupor or stagnancy. He was going to run the race to win. He was going to fight the good fight and finish well. What we need today are more believers like Paul and Timothy. We need movers and shakers. We could use some highly-motivated, Spirit-directed men and women who aren’t going to let anything or anyone get in the way of their movement toward Christ-likeness.

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