Living Life With A Purpose

Years ago before children had the toys that are available today, there were soap box derbies.  Dads and sons would build racing carts and enter them in the soap box races.  They may be made out of orange crates on short 2×4’s with axles and wheels.  They had a steering mechanism and brakes.  That was the total racer.

Most of the contestants were eager youngsters who leaned forward or hunkered down in their carts hoping to decrease wind resistance thereby increasing speed.  One youngster was visibly frightened at the prospect of going too fast down a long hill and compensated by riding the brake to keep his speed under control.  He finished last.

In my younger days some of our relatives would go to the Pacific Ocean for a weekend and would dig clams and have clam chowder.  To this day it is my favorite soup.  I remember wading out into waist deep water, standing mesmerized as a huge wave approached, broke and knocked me flat in a swirl of sand, saltwater and tangled arms and legs.  My next try resulted in a repeat of my first humiliation.

I use these two illustrations to describe the Christian’s frame of mind when the first few steps of faith are taken.  A fully committed Christian is like a youngster who takes his foot off the brake and goes full tilt down the steepest of hills.  The committed Christian is also like a person who wades into the surf, dives headlong into the first wave and swims into the vast Pacific Ocean.

The problem that exists is once the initial wave of enthusiasm passes, and it will, there is an inclination to settle into a kind of treadmill mentality.  Once the excitement has passed, life returns to dealing with the day to day pressures that surround us.  So before any more steps are taken we need to learn how to maintain momentum and stay charged.

A person who is truly committed must believe that God is in complete control.  No matter what situation you may find yourself accept that the Holy Spirit is with you.  One thing that Scripture and the Holy Spirit taught me was how God expected me to live as a Christian.  There were certain things I must do and many I was not to do.

Early as a Christian I learned that my body was a temple that housed the Holy Spirit.  There were rules as to how I was to treat my body by what I put into it, what I thought and how I should take care of it.  Scripture shared certain principles that help me in decision making.  I was not to lie, steal, bare a false witness, covet, commit adultery, worship other gods, etc.  I learned how to deal with the sins of lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy or pride.

Maybe the one thing that helped me live as a Christian was my complete desire to please God.  Knowing God allowed or controlled all things in my life no matter what happened, He was aware of and had given me His Spirit to handle every situation.  There was no need to go through life afraid and riding the brakes.  I learned to trust Him and His promises.  He took away much of life’s fears.

Every one of us has a worldly nature and a spiritual nature.  The two natures are in conflict with each other because the worldly nature is self-serving and the spiritual nature is God-serving.  Therefore, the condition of our spiritual heart determines the kinds of decisions we make.  Business decisions, job decisions, family decisions and personal decisions are all affected by our true nature or heart.

Countless Scriptures make the point that spiritual health is a direct outgrowth of our spiritual natures winning the conflict taking place within us.  Galatians 5:17 – “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Is our worldly nature saying “Keep your foot on the brake; you may risk losing everything”?  Or are we willing as committed Christians to hunker down, with our foot off the brake saying: I am willing to let it all hang out that I might fulfill God’s purpose in my life and that might require taking a risk! It may even require swimming with the sharks.

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