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Are you on the way in or out?
- Jacob Ninan
Some of us are pressing on to get to know Jesus better, to walk more closely with Him, to do His will more perfectly, to bring honour and glory to His name, etc. These are the ones who have had their hearts sprinkled clean with the blood and have boldness to enter into the holy of holies, who are seeking to enter more deeply into the heart of God (He.10:19-22). Having been brought in by grace into the kingdom of God they are striving to 'enter' more deeply in every sense of the word (Lk.13:24).
Some of us, who also have entered into the kingdom through the same grace as the others, are actually moving towards the way out. We may not recognise it or acknowledge it, but we are getting farther away from the centre of the kingdom as time goes on. We have lost the initial thrill, things have become routine, other things have begun to occupy prime time in our mind, we have become a little weary of having to deny ourselves daily and we feel that we need to be able to indulge ourselves a bit now and then, etc. We are on the way out.
Some of us like to think that even though we are not actually pressing on towards the centre, we are more or less stable in our routines and that there is no need for alarm. But here we are fooling ourselves. If we are not actively moving in the direction of God, we are really on the way out, whether we know it or not (Re.3:15,16). Pressures are mounting up in this world. Even ordinary life is beginning to become a fight for survival. On top of that Satan and his demons are on the lookout to see how they can make us fall (1Pe.5:8). It is becoming increasingly difficult to live in this world as Christians (2Ti.3:1 LB). Jesus warns us that we should watch and pray at all times if we are to be able to 'escape' and 'stand' before Him at the end (Lk.21:36).
There is no such thing as a complacent, easy going Christian life. Those who think that they are 'saved' and 'headed for heaven' and begin to take things easy and enjoy the (transient) pleasures of this life as if everything is safe are going in for a rude shock. Without the grace of God we will not have the strength to face the pressures that are coming, and we will become an easy prey for the devil. It is a myth to think that we can have a level, plateau like path once we climb the small hill of repentance and faith and get 'saved.' No, what we have come to is not salvation in its full sense but just forgiveness of our sins and justification before God. There is a long path ahead through battle zones, where we are going to have to deal with the lusts in our flesh that try to pull us back into the old life and attacks from Satan who tries to pull us away from God. This again is an upward journey, and any time we think we can pause and take a nap, we begin our slide downwards (1Co.10:12).
If we don't believe this, experience will teach us. But it is not so pleasant to learn it the hard way, is it? And hopefully it won't be too late.