Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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I've traveled a lot. Of course, sometimes I drive, and time matters a lot. So over the years, I've learned a fundamental secret of making great time on the open road. Not speeding – just driving steady. Over and over, I've watched what I call a "spurter" come roaring up behind me. (You've seen them too.) He does everything but push you into the right lane. He's obviously well into the State Trooper Zone as far as his speed's concerned. So I move over...he roars past...but I catch up with him a few miles later without ever changing my speed. See, he's settled back into the right lane, just cruising along. (Have you passed this guy, too?) He speeds in binges, he floors it one minute and then he's just tapping the accelerator a few minutes later. I usually make excellent time driving places, and I've talked to other marathon drivers who are used to getting places fast. And we pretty much agree. How do you trim hours off a long trip? A steady foot. The fast way to get somewhere is not with big spurts, but with a consistent, steady speed.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Big Spurts and Steady Speed."
No, I'm not opening a driving school. I brought this up because there are people who do their Christian life like those drivers who do a wild sprint, and then settle into a slow crawl. A lot of believers follow Jesus in spurts.
Spiritual bingers usually shift into high speed after a spiritual high of some kind – a great church service, a retreat, a conference, a concert, a recommitment, a special event – or just a season of great spiritual feelings. When you're on one of your highs, oh, look out world! You're coming on strong! Right? But then, a few miles later, there you are, back to mediocrity, back to business as usual, making little or no progress. A lot of us are really into what I call event Christianity. We live for the next spiritual event, we depend on the next spiritual event, and we start fading when there hasn't been a spiritual event for a while.
A lot of believers live like this – but a lot of believers are getting tired of living like this. Maybe you're tired of stop-and-go Christianity - the roller-coaster ride of real high highs and real low lows. Your heart's hungry for something more satisfying than spiritual spurts. You're hungry for spiritual consistency.
Which is why our word for today from the Word of God is so helpful. In Luke 9:23, Jesus issues a call to follow Him, but in a way that will get you more than a high. He tells you how to get a life. Listen for the all-important "D" word: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny Himself and take up His cross daily and follow Me." How do you follow Jesus? He said daily! One 24-hour slice of life at a time. You give Him your life, not in one big blob, but by consciously living His Lordship each new day.
Our problems come when we try to make some super-commitment that will change our life forever, or by needing an event to keep us going. What Jesus calls us to do is a brand new surrender on this particular Monday, focusing on what it means to take up His cross on this particular Monday, and then giving Him the specific Lordship issues of this specific Monday. Then, when you drive into your Tuesday, you give Him specific Lordship issues of that specific Tuesday. Pretty soon, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you have lived a Jesus-week. Put a few of those together and you've got a Jesus-month. Keep going and you've got a Jesus-year, and then a Jesus-life. How? One day at a time.
The secret of spiritual success is not bigger and bigger highs or bigger and bigger commitments. It's the daily enlarging of Jesus' Lordship over the real stuff in your life for that day.
You won't cover nearly as much ground in spurts as you will by keeping up a steady speed. Steady, consistent, daily progress. It may not be as exciting as the bursts of speed, but it will get you a lot farther, a lot faster.