doesn't it always seem like there is something in the way? i constantly feel like there is something blocking progress. this can be a number of different things really. its different for every person, relationship, goal, and circumstance. but as humans, we are pretty gullible. aren't we? how often do we find ourselves at a stand still or even moving backwards because we keep falling for the same things.
let me give you an example. i love sports. i love NFL. i relate to football analogies very well. thursday night i was watching the patriots and the jets. well let me start off by saying that it is very difficult for me to even mention this story because the patriots lost. but I will say the win was encouraging because of how good cassel looked on the field. but several times the jets defense found themselves in a trap. the jets were super paranoid about giving up the big play so they'd bring the safeties in to help double up our wide receivers. so on numerous occasions there would be a lot of conjestion near the sidelines - and when that happened, the patriots would send kevin faulk up the middle to run a route toward the sidelines. as soon as we did that, the jets bit, and the middle of the field would be completely open. the linebacker would follow faulk to the outside and everytime cassel would just hang onto the ball and run straight up the middle. he'd grab 12 yards everytime. the jets continually fell into the temptation and as a result gave the patriots an easy first down and more.
this obviously kept the jets from moving forward. they found themselves at a stand still or even moving backwards. let me give you another example.
last week my wife and I were driving to minneapolis to visit some family. my sister-in-law and her husband live there. we left friday afternoon and got in around 2 am. when we got into wisconsin, the highway had set up this clever way of keeping cars from speeding. every 10 or 15 miles, there would be 3 sets of reflectors lined up consecutively. each set had about 15 or 20 reflectors each. the first set of reflectors were about 4 feet high and had blue and white reflectors at the top. the second set of reflectors were about 3 feet high and were red. and the third was like the first: blue and white. so it looked like this: blue/white, red, blue/white. but from a distance, they looked like the lights and details of a highway patrol car. when you drove right past them it was obvious that they were just a bunch of standing reflectors. but from 500 yards out, with your lights flashing from the distance, it resembled a cop.
every single time I approached one of these "fake cops," i would tap my brakes and would say to myself, "crap." this was instinct. i was speeding. i could hardly control this reaction. i would then drive by the reflectors and instantly feel relieved. but over and over i would fall for the same trick. every 10 or 15 miles I found myself tapping my brakes and slowing down. and then I'd drive by and think, "i fell for it again?"
how often do we continually fall for the same frauds? how often do we find ourselves falling into the same temptation over and over - only to find ourselves at some sort of a stand still or spiraling downward? i find this to be all too true with my relationship with God. God and I will be doing super well and then suddenly i find myself falling into temptation again - following a fraud that only leads me downhill. then all that work I put in with God was thrown to waste. all my discipline and time spent with God - now rubbish. all that reading in my bible, all those books i was reading, all the scripture I was studying - now worthless.
yesterday I talked briefly about perspective. i think, again, today perspective is my issue. my relationship with God is not a task. my relationship with God is not a function. it isn't, by popular opinion, a discipline. while I may utilize certain spiritual disciplines to nurture and grow my relationship - like many other relationships - it isn't a discipline itself. and whenever I view it as such - a discipline, that is - i find myself relying on my own strength. and whenever I find myself relying on my own strength, i find myself falling for the same frauds. and whenever I fall for a stupid fraud, i find myself spiraling downward.
how do we avoid this? how do we combat these things? we must shift our perspective. God wishes to be in our lives. he wants to have a friendship with us. he wants to interact and talk with God. God is not something to be done. God is someone to be with.
4 days ago