Tuesday, 8/17/21 – Pressing on… Walking in the Way

Walking in the Way

Galatians is all about walking… moving forward… its about correcting a misstep by challenging hypocrisy found in the saints (2:14), and removing hindrances in the runners path (5:7). It’s about walking in the Spirit, and shunning self-will and self-efforts of the flesh (5:16; 5:25), and about learning to walk as the new creatures God is making us to become (6:15-16).

And what is the standard by which corrections are made? It is the one simple, pure and holy gospel given to us in Christ. Not man-made (Gal. 1:11), not delivered or taught by any man (Gal. 1:12), but brought to mankind from God, by God, and found in God!

This gospel has the power to transform… to make “new creations” of old sinners… to make “a holy people” of soiled and rotted clay…. to make you…. to make me — like Christ!

But the process is not automatic! The gospel is not a commodity one picks up and thereby secures Christlikeness. The gospel is more like a road… a narrow road… a road found by one who seeks it. A road found by one who, like ‘Christian’ in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, discovers his city to be Vanity — a Vanity both destructive and doomed to be destroyed – and leaves it to find the true and good path to that other city and kingdom, the kingdom of God!

No, the gospel is not a commodity at all but a way to walk. Our Lord has provided the way… even is the Way… but it is our feet, our mind and heart, that must do the walk. It is a walk each step of which moves away from the old city. One cannot both stay and go. One must decide which they wish. Stay and enjoy the fleshly fair that is Vanity (and the endless destruction that follows), or leave, taking the adventure and challenge of this narrow Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14).

If you decide to walk the way as the true gospel gives us, the gate to that way is just up that hillside. It is marked by the cross, both His and yours. No baggage may be brought with you; any you have must be left behind, left there at that cross.

If you decide to walk the way as the true gospel gives us, you will find you will not walk alone: the king of the new kingdom will walk with you! He is an amazing King, able both to be seated in His eternal kingdom, while walking intimately alongside each walker on that wondrous path.

I am the Way….” (John 14:6) — “Rise, let us be going…” (John 14:31).

More tomorrow…

Never read Pilgrim’s Progress? Read it now: Click here.

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 8/16/21 – Pressing on… Walking or Standing Still?

Walking or Standing Still?

I was out for a walk the other day when up from behind me came someone on one of those ne “Segway” gizmos. You know, those things you stand on that look like a doctor’s scale on wheels and move about depending on how you lean. He zoomed past me and faded away before me like an Olympian though the truth was the fella wasn’t really moving at all.

I walked on… Soon someone else motored up from behind. This time it was someone on a scooter, only the scootee on the scooter wasn’t scooting, he was just standing there, right foot behind left as motor power and momentum moved him forward – on His mark, all set, but never actually “go”-ing. His machine did all that.

Two such scooters like that passed me as I walked, and one come toward me from ahead. Two bicycles also passed me, but no one was peddling. Instead these too grumbled by as mini motor power propelled them. All these folk were out like me on the paved trail, enjoying fresh air, enjoying sunshine and nature but not one of them was exercising. Their brains may well have been duped by the illusion (delusion?) of exercise but their bodies missed the benefit.

I also saw a woman with two large leashed dogs out on this trail. All three of them were walking… in fact the dogs tugged on their restraints as the woman at times stumbled forward with them. “Yay!” I whispered internally. Someone at least and at last was getting exercise.

I wonder at times if these same odds, if this same illusion (delusion?), has not also invaded the Christian’s mindset. “Walk in the Spirit,” urges Paul (Gal. 5:16), “walk by faith,” “walk in Christ,” “…walk properly as in the daytime…” “…run with perseverance…” (2 Cor. 5:7; Col. 2:6; Rom. 13:13; Heb. 12:1). As Christians we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works… that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 3:10.) But many, it seems, prefer to coast… standing still…  fooling their minds into thinking they are somehow growing stronger.

Attending an inspiring concert is not church, not challenge, not being salt or light or comfort or hope to a dying aimless world. Collecting Christian paraphernalia or wearing shirts with slogans is not bearing a cross for Christ. Walking… real walking in Christ is to “walk in the same way in which He [Jesus] walked.” (1 John 2:6), to “walk in the light, as He [Jesus] is the light” (1 John 1:7), to “follow in His [Jesus’] steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

And where did Jesus steps take Him? Out there… into the world… a beacon of Truth to a dark and dying humanity.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 7/12/21 – Pressing on… God as you least Expect Him

God as you least Expect Him

Yesterday Pastor Andrew spoke on one of the more familiar passages to many Christians, 2 Tim. 3:16. I will follow my usual format and comment on that tomorrow, but today my thoughts led me to something different…

If we really want God we will not care whether He comes to us in a mighty rushing wind or in a still, small voice. We will not demand He comes with majestic glory, nor mind if He comes by speaking through an ass… or even an enemy!  Do you desire God to come to you enough that you would receive Him in a form you despise today?

“If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again. But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.” How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!” Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 1 entry.

God, coming to us in a way we least expect, seems often to be His way: a burning bush, a smoky cloud, a tower of fire, a harlot, a 7-day march, a terrified Abiezrite, a blinding light, a dream in the night, a helpless baby.

No parent will give their child the car keys before the child has been proven to drive responsibly. To do so could very well result in destruction of the child. Until then, the child must simply learn to walk. Similarly, Chalmers notes, “God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them.” Until then, we must simply learn to walk. Walking is the norm. Driving is privilege. It will do a child no good to stand and shout tantrums demanding a car! Doing so only further demonstrates the child’s present immaturity.

If a Christian truly wants to travel with Christ he will not care about their mode of transportation. To our delight, when we content ourselves with this, we find He is ever with us, even while trudging along on stony paths.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.