Lifelines February 20, 2022

The war is endless.  The rush of excitement at our conversion fades.  The devil’s assaults go on and on.  Temptations never go away.  We try and fail far too often, stumbling over those same old weaknesses and wonder about our own progress.  Then Sunday rolls around and we put on our best clothes and plaster on a smile.  “Fine,” we say when they ask.  Really, we aren’t.  The last week was rough.

We forget about the halting steps of Moses, raised royalty and banished for fisticuffs.  Then came that conversation with a burning bush and a commission that overwhelmed him.  He debated a shrub, and the shrub won.  Talk about “beating around the bush.”  He went with lots of uncertainties about how he could possibly do what God told him to.  Whenever our palms are sweaty, our mouth is dry and our steps are really shaky, remember Moses.

David was a man after God’s heart.  He was the writer of one of the most beloved portions of Scriptures in the Good Book, “The Lord is my shepherd…”  Yet, he made one of the biggest blunders in the book, too.  Adultery and conspiracy to murder would have landed him in a twenty-first century prison cell.  The next time we collapse under a heap of our own sin, remember David.

We speak brave words.  We will never stumble.  Never back down.  We will never shy away from a confrontation with the opposition.  Never, never, never.  Everyone else might, but not us.  Then we do.  We wilted in the heat of battle.  The emotional intensity crushed us.  We distanced ourselves from our Savior.  Our guilt-ridden rationalizations?  In our moments of failure, remember Peter.

Saul was determined to wipe out the latest challenge to his beloved Judaism.  He cheered the execution of an outspoken follower of Christ, persecuted the neighborhood Christians, then headed on the road to shut them down and lock them up.  His design wasn’t simply to hinder the new movement; it was to destroy it.  The Lord, who had a different plan for him, stopped him in his tracks and turned his life around.  God’s words flowed through him to benefit Christians during his time and down to ours.  When we find ourselves on the wrong road intending to do the wrong thing, remember Paul. God’s people have never been flawless.  We try to dodge our own burning bush moments. We have an opportunity and freeze.  We commit an unimaginable sin.  We talk big and act little.  We join in with the opposition.  We head down a road of miscues and church damaging intentions.  Then we stop.  What are we doing?  Being human; painfully, sinfully, guilt-inducingly sinful.  It is one battle after another, and sometimes we lose.  That’s when we need to remember that the ultimate war was won on a cross 2000 years ago for imperfect people just like us