Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Highway to Hell" - What Road are you On?

We are currently in the process of trying to get rid of some debt in our lives, and I only tell you this because it is somewhat important in setting the stage for this post.  One of the things we are trying to do is to sell my car and use that money to trade my wife's car down to something that we can buy outright.  In trying to do this I have my car sitting at my parents house, because they live on a highway between Jonesboro and some of the major factories and small towns East of town.  While my car sits there I am driving my grandfather's old truck which only has a radio.  It is the dial type which makes finding Air1 or KLOVE nearly impossible.  This afternoon on my way home I was listening to a local classic rock station and the classic AC/DC song "Highway to Hell" came on.  As I listened to this song (which I used to jam out to in my younger days) it really hit me that the majority of people are actually on this road.  I think it is biblical and here is my attempt to lay out my thoughts on this.

As humans we are born into sin.  Psalm 51:5 tells us:  "Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me."  If we are born into sin then we are born onto the highway to hell.  1 Cor 10:21 says "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons."  And Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:14 " But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  I use all this to say that we are born into sin, which means we are born onto the highway to hell which is the wide and easy road, and by being born into sin the highway to hell is the devil's highway.  Any road other than Jesus is the devil's.  Jesus also said he is the way the truth and the life which is the only way we can get onto the narrow road to life. 

I know that last part was kind of jumbled up and full of scripture but I think it is not by chance that the Lord spoke to me during this song and that Jesus uses the comparison to a road because it paints a picture of our lives.  From birth we begin our path down the road of life and that road, as long as we have not surrendered our life to Jesus, is leading us to an eternity separated from God.  As you have likely noticed the highly traveled highways begin to develop ruts where the vehicles travel.  It is very easy for us to get into a rut with life.  The farther we travel down the "highway to hell" the deeper the ruts get.  As the ruts get deeper it becomes more and more challenging to merge from the wide and easy road to hell to the narrow road to eternal life. 

So when traveling down a road and attempting to get out of the ruts what is one of the easiest ways to get out of them?  Depending on the depth of the ruts we tend to try to slowly turn our wheels and climb out of the ruts, but for deep ruts this may not work.  In order to get out of the really deep ones it takes something pulling or pushing us out of them.  I think the same happens in our spiritual life, the farther we travel down the highway of life apart from Jesus the harder it gets to navigate our way to Him.  The road begins to get bumpy and for most of us we come to a point where we have to get out of the rut.  This is when i think God comes along and knocks us out of the rut.  Typically our decisions have kept us on the road we are on and we try to make corrections to come to our savior but we just cant get the wheel over the edge.  Then, we finally decide to let go of the wheel and depend on Jesus to merge us to His lane of traffice.  I think this can happen in many ways, depending on the size of the potholes we are going through he may grab us by the front and drag us out, or he may come along and hit us from the side and knock us out.  However he does it, it usually causes some damage to our lives (because of our decisions) and it usually hurts.  Regardless it takes us letting go of the wheel and depending on Christ to get us out. 

I love how God can take something like a song and make the gospel so clear.  In life there are two roads, the easy and wide road which leads directly to a life eternally separated from God in Hell, or the road that is narrow which leads to eternal life.  We are born into sin and are placed on the Highway to Hell, and as we live our lives we begin to develop ruts on this road.  The only way to get off of this road and onto the road to eternal life is through Jesus Christ.  We have to make a decision to let go of the wheel (totally surrender our lives to Him) and put the control of our lives in Christ's hand.  Once we do that, and typically through some painful circumstances/experiences, we jump the ruts on the highway to hell and land on the road to life.  What road are you on?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Overcoming the Resistance

As I continue on my walk through the Bible from front to back I just started in the book of Deuteronomy.  As I have made it through the first 3 chapters I am amazed at how relevant the old testament is to us today, and love how it all points to Jesus.  I challenge anyone (like me) to read through the old testament with an open heart and prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal himself through it.  You will be amazed and what he shows you.

In order to sort of help set te stage I am going to go all the way back to Genesis 17.  Stealing a line from Pastor Dan this morning, I think this is where Abraham genuinely becomes the father of faith.  In this chapter God gives Abraham the covenent of circumcision, and getting circumcized at the age of 99 takes greater faith than most have today. But seriously, when we look at the old testament versus the new testament it is so awesome to see it all pointing to Christ.  God gave Abraham the covenant of Circumcision to set his nation apart.  I don't think it is by chance, obviously, that God chose circumsicion.  To me this makes faith a whole lot more than just face value, and seriously no PON intended.  In order for someone to know that you were circumcized, well I am not even certain how this came out, but you know that it was something that was discussed with those who had a close relationship.  It was not something that just was meant to be a superficial marking.  If that were the case God could have said to stamp a cross on your forehead.  I think this was intended to be something that in order to be shared a relationship on a deep level had to be present.  It is the same today.  For those that follow Christ they can easily proclaim verbally that they do so, but it takes fruit in their lives for others to see that it is truly genuine. 

I just used that as another example of how they old testament and the new testament are perfectly complementary of each other.  Now if we look in the first three chapters of Deuteronomy we see a recount of the lives of the Israelites once they left Egypt.  I think this is important because it re-iterates the importance of using our story to share the gospel.  We have to constantly remember where we came from in order to understand where we are going.  Just like Dan said this morning, Identity predicates action.  If we are going to put our faith into action then we must understand what our identity is, and for most that involves a personal encounter with Christ.  This typically includes both the good and the bad.  What is really speaking to me right now though is when they begin to talk about all the people that they conquered.  Here you have a group of people who constantly come up againt resistance in their path to the promised land that without God's help they would never be able to defeat.  The same thing happens to us in life, God calls us to take a leap of faith and we know that when we take that leap we will hit resistance.  But, just as the Israelites could rest in the fact that God would help them defeat their resistors, we have the hope and faith that no matter what resistance we face when taking a leap of faith that God will defeat them.

At the end of the day it is easy to get wrapped up in day to day life to the point where we miss an opportunity to see God deliver a resistor into our hands.  This passage in Deutoronomy was only written because of what God said to Abram and what his response was.  Imagine what this may have looked like if Abram would have said, nah think I'll pass.  Why don't you just use me here.  Lets not look back on our lives and say wow, I bascially told God that His plan was not good enough or valuable enough for me.