My Favourite Stories #105

How do you get air out of a bottle? You fill it with water! How do you get darkness out room? You turn on the light! How do you get sin out of your life? The answer is obvious, right? You fill it with Jesus! A truth with eternal consequences; whatever gets your attention gets you. Unfortunately, spiritually we are like the moon, always waxing and waning, at our best full of holes, but shining our brightest when we are facing the sun (Son).

Steven Covey tells the story of a group of executives gathered for a seminar. The lecturer took a jar of large rocks and placed it on the podium and asked the question, “Is the jar full?” To which the audience answered, “Yes.” He then proceeded to tip some gravel in the jar and again asked the question, “Is the jar full now?” Now the audience was not sure. He then took out some sand and proceeded to pour it in. “Is it full now?” he asked. “No” some said, “You could fill it with water!”

Then the speaker asked,

    “What is the application?”

One executive replied, “No matter how full your schedule you can always squeeze something else in!”

    “ No” replied the speaker

 “The illustration is that if the sand is in first there is no room for anything else. One of the great faults of many people is that we spend time sweating the small stuff and leave no time for big things like God, eternal life, prayer and Bible study.

 The Holy Scripture admonishes to “grow in Grace “(2Pet 3:18). Unfortunately the battle front to many people is to battle where the battle isn’t. The battle is not in reforming our behaviour. Salvation is not based on our performance. If we grow in grace all other things will come it its wake. Christianity is a battle and a march from which there is no release. If you are not having a battle, you are probably not having a Christian experience.

 The Christian life can be likened to an evergreen bush. Even though we are born again the ‘bush’ will always have seasons of growth and no growth. The winter seasons show no growth and sometimes we are pruned back. This is negative growth, but its purpose (to those of us who are gardeners) is growth.

Then the summer of our lives burst into flower. These are like our emotions – our mountain top experiences. Any honest Christian will acknowledge we experience all seasons in varying proportions. The waxing and waning like the moon is a normal spiritual reality.

Let me share an embarrassing story from my past. Twenty-five years ago I was doing a church plant in Shell Harbour NSW. As part of my exercise program, I walked to work every morning. I lost 20kg (don’t worry it found me again). The walk took me onto a busy freeway for a short distance. The traffic was heavy and noisy. I was wearing my Walkman (I said it was 25 years ago). I was thinking and I didn’t notice a large front-end loader coming up from behind in the stop lane where I was walking. The driver obviously thought I was going to jump out of the way, but I couldn’t hear him! It grazed passed my shoulder with about 2cm to spare It gave me such a fright that I uttered all but last ‘k’ of a word I had not used for 30 years. Now I was shocked by both events.

This experience got me thinking. For the first 20 years of my life those words were part of me. After my conversion, and by the grace of God those words were no longer ‘on the outside’. But I know, even to this day, that they are still inside my mind. You see sin is like riding a bicycle. If I could show you a verse that said, “Riding a bike is a sin,” then you could say, “ OK I’ll never ride a bike again.” But you would never forget how. Swearing is like that. By the grace of God you will not hear them on the outside. Remember,  that while sin does not have to president in your life it is still resident

Resident but not president. Fortunately we are saved by our relationship to God  and an isolated ‘sin” will not break that relationship. Had I been run over at that moment it would not have effected my eternal destiny. TBC

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