Spiritual Cruise Control (and getting back into gear)
For many years the experience of how I became a Christian skewed my perspective of what faith was supposed to be - I gave my life to Christ during an altar call at a giant youth convention with thousands of other teens, and that is what I thought the Christian life was all about - getting on that spiritual “mountaintop” and somehow staying there. What a shock real life was! At one point a friend gave me a copy of the classic “Hinds Feet on High Places” and I recall crying my eyes out several times on my first read as I related to the story of Much Afraid and her journey with the good shepherd to the High Places. I was only 16 and already I knew so well the valleys, the dry deserts, and frightening darkness that went with those spiritual “highs.”
We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
I found a devotional today from Leroy Eims called “Spiritual Cruise Control” and it really got me thinking; Eims states that Christians are always doing one of three things in their walk with Christ: moving forward/upward, slipping backwards - or just cruising along on a flat plateau and really going nowhere. It’s the third state - sitting on the flat plateau - where Eims places his focus. He says, “I’ve heard it said that in the Christian life you are either moving forward or going backward. But I know people who seem to be on a kind of spiritual plateau. They aren’t in rebellion against God nor are they living in open or secret sin. But they aren’t making any progress either. They haven’t led anyone to Christ in years, and they aren’t excited about anything related to the kingdom of God. They seem to have leveled out–just cruising on some kind of spiritual automatic pilot.”
Spiritual auto pilot. To be perfectly honest I know exactly what he’s talking about; at the age of 45, married with two young kids, most days my life feels so full of “stuff” to do that the thought of just sitting still for 10 minutes to read Scripture and spend time talking to God seems impossible, let alone anything else like sharing the gospel with the lost or serving the poor and needy. Sitting on that plateau is pretty easy to do these days, but instinctively I know this isn’t what God desires - and neither do I. Walking the path of discipleship beside my Savior - that’s where I really want to be. The question is, how? How do I get there?
Eims makes this observation: It is love that binds God to His own. And it is love that God seeks from His own. He wants to walk with you in the devotion and commitment of your first love. I know the path of actively seeking after Christ starts with a decision, an act of the will to take one small step of obedience, then another, and then another, one day at a time. Right now I’m using a devotional guide from the Navigators called “31 Days of Prayer” to get back in the habit of dwelling on Scripture at least once every day.
If you’re actively seeking after Christ and heading upwards and onwards with our Savior - keep it up! If you’re slipping backwards - take heed, repent, and turn around! And if you’re stuck on that plateau, maybe you can join me in taking one small step towards getting back on that path of actively walking with Jesus.