“The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” – C.S. Lewis
“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.” – Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
I was lukewarm. As in total spew-worthy. (See Revelation 3:16) I knew it and was too spiritually lazy to do anything about it.
Fortunately I have a Heavenly Father who wasn’t content to leave me in that state. One way I can be sure that He loves me is that He cares enough to chastise me:
“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” – Hebrews 12:5-7 NIV
I was stubbornly self satisfied and deceived myself into thinking that I was okay where I was at. Of course I wasn’t. My spiritual life as a follower of Christ was so stagnant that it was beginning to rot my soul and I couldn’t even smell it. I never, ever want to go back to being that way again.
My Lord has done amazing things in my relationship with Him in these last two months. He’s renewed my love for Him and has met me as I sought Him. I often get so excited about what I’ve read in my devotional time that I talk Lowell’s ear off about it that night before we go to sleep. He says he doesn’t mind.
Yes, right now my family is in the middle of a difficult time that could get even more so. But I also know that human nature has a way of carving out a new normal from any life circumstance. It’s a drive. We feel a strong need for equilibrium. A way to get through our days with a minimal amount of effort. And from that state, we grow lukewarm.
Lord willing, if we all come out the other end of this and begin to move on with ‘normal’ life, I desperately don’t want to lose what I’ve regained in my close walk with my Lord.
There’s this song that we used to sing at camp wayyyy back when:
Pierce my ear, O Lord, my God
Take me to Your door this day.
I will serve no other gods,
Lord, I’m here to stay.
For You have paid the price for me
With Your blood You ransomed me.
I will serve You eternally,
A free man I’ll never be.
Copyright © 1980 Dayspring Music, LLC
It’s based on a passage in Exodus:
“Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing … But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” Exodus 21:1-2 and 5
I don’t want my ‘freedom’. What I had was simply a slavery to my own stinky selfish desires. I want to serve my Heavenly Father forever. I want to follow Him hard in the good times and not just come running when things get rough.
Because I felt a strong need for a permanent reminder, I got my ear pierced. A single piercing on the top of my left ear. (Left=nearest the heart). Every time it hurts as it heals, I’ll be reminded of His presence with me in difficult times. Every time I see it in the mirror or brush against it with my hand, I’ll be reminded of the One I really want to serve.
“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” – Psalm 84:10
Actually, all of Psalm 84 is just perfect right about now.