Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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I was a little boy. I'll never forget the day when my Dad took me to Riverview, the big amusement park then in Chicago. We had a ball until he insisted on taking me - against my serious objections - on "The Bobs." See, that was Riverview's biggest roller coaster. Oh, I had seen the people on the TV commercials screaming like death was near, but he persuaded me to go. I was not a happy camper. I didn't scream. I didn't cry. I didn't do anything. I froze! I gripped the safety bar, I stared straight ahead, never blinked, never spoke the entire ride. My Dad was frantically trying to get me to say something. I could not. It was a long time after before I ever rode a roller coaster again. I was so glad to get off.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Last Roller Coaster Ride."
A roller coaster ride that isn't much fun - that's how a lot of Jesus' followers feel about their Christian life. Maybe you've had your share of spiritual highs, and the view at the top is exciting. But you've also had the bottom drop out and plunge you down into the valley of spiritual mediocrity and defeat. And a whole lot of people are tired of this up-and-down faith thing. They're ready for something more consistent. They're ready to get off the Christian roller coaster.
Well, then consider the formula for consistent spiritual victory in our word for today from the Word of God. First Kings 20, the Aramean army had attacked Israel and had been routed, but immediately they began planning another assault the next year. 1 Kings 20:23, "The officials of the king of Aram advised him, 'Their gods are the gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they.'"
Sure enough, the Aramean army came against Israel the following Spring, sure that the Jews had a God that was only good on the hills. Listen to what God's prophet tells the king of Israel. "This is what the Lord says, 'Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.'" And sure enough, God proved to be the God of the valleys every bit as much as He was God of the hills.
Maybe the devil has looked at you and said, "She's got a God that only works for her during the high times." As long as you've had the "fix" of the latest retreat or concert or church meeting or event, oh you've stayed close to Jesus, you've walked the Jesus-way. But when the roller coaster of your feelings takes a plunge--as roller coasters do--so does your walk with Christ. You're hard to beat on the mountains, but you're all too beatable in the valleys.
But see, your God is God of the valleys, too. You just need to start anchoring your life to your unchanging relationship with Jesus instead of your ever-changing feelings. Spiritual consistency - the kind where you keep gaining ground instead of just gaining and losing the same ground over and over again - that kind of spiritual consistency is anchored first to a daily, non-negotiable time with Jesus in His Book. The fuel for your faith has got to be not the next event, but a daily time in His Word with Him, looking for a practical step of obedience for that twenty-four hours. Your life is days, right? Your relationship with Christ has to be anchored to a source that is daily, not occasional.
Spiritual consistency also means a fresh, daily surrender of your life and the things that really matter to you. An annual rededication or occasional spiritual rush will probably not give you lasting spiritual progress. Each new day you give you - and the specific parts of your life - to Jesus.
And you have to learn the power of resisting the devil instead of just allowing him to manipulate you through your feelings. You say, "Well, I know who this is, and I'm not falling for it any more!" Remember, the Bible says if you "resist the devil," then "he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
If you'll make each new day a new beginning with Jesus, then you can quit trying to keep the last high alive. You've ridden this spiritual roller coaster long enough haven't you? Make this the day you get off the roller coaster, and the first day of a lifetime of days when you walk instead on solid ground.