Drum ornament hanging on the Christmas tree, Haven, KS

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you can drive like an idiot

People in Wichita don’t know how to drive. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s never more obvious than when the weather is bad. The worse the weather, the worse the drivers out in it are. They either go too fast or too slow. I usually get to see the colorful variety of Wichita’s most inept every Monday through Friday morning as I drive into work. It’s an odd mixture of people and an even odder mixture of vehicles.

One morning last week, I drove a couple of miles with a big white van riding my bumper. I was going five over, and I couldn’t see their headlights they were so close. I got over out of their way as soon as I could, and they shot around me like I was standing still. Not a big deal—except that the conditions were somewhat treacherous. That same day, a newish SUV with big tires and bright lights crept along the highway, hovering in the middle of both lanes, taking up too much room on both sides and not letting anyone pass. The guy was going at least 30 under, which is never a good idea on K-96 on a weekday morning around 7:15.

I thought it was ironic, the giant under-tired white van was clipping along like it ruled the road and the new SUV, designed for foul weather conditions, was afraid to accelerate. And that got me thinking about how many circumstances we encounter in our own lives that are exactly like that.

Drum ornament hanging on the Christmas tree, Haven, KS

Drum ornament hanging on the Christmas tree, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 18:39.

You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet. 

Have you ever charged into a fight when you weren’t prepared for it? Have you ever walked into a situation you weren’t equipped to handle? I have. There’s no worse feeling in the world than realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Why? Well, it’s not exactly like you can bow out; you’ll lose respect. But at the same time, you don’t know what you’re doing, so you can’t help but fail, which means you’ll lose respect. But have you ever considered the flip side of that situation?

How many times, as Christians, do we hang back and fear our own inadequacy when we are more than capable of doing what needs to be done? This is me. This is me all the way. All my life I have struggled with feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy. People laugh at me when I say that, but it’s the absolute truth. My greatest fear is failing to perform to the expectations of people I love and respect, and that fear has kept me bound in silence many times when I probably should have spoken up.

Mentor a child? I’m not good enough. Share Christ with someone who doesn’t believe? I don’t know enough. Volunteer for a church ministry? I’m not talented enough. Any of those sound familiar? This isn’t really a Christmas post, but what better time of year to consider this issue?

How many of us live our Christian life like a fully equipped SUV crawling along in the snow? How many of us Christians are so burdened and weighed down with fears of our own inadequacy that we never even try to run? We’re so afraid that we never move faster than a walk, and we don’t get nearly as far as we might have if we would have used our gifts to their fullest. This is a reminder to me today. I convince myself that I’m not good enough, not talented enough, not fast enough, not brave enough to do the things that God has called me to do. But those things that I tell myself aren’t true. God has promised to equip me to accomplish everything He’s planned for me to do.

As it usually works with things in my life, my life isn’t about me; it’s about God and what God wants to do with my life. Now, that doesn’t mean we should be like the rickety old van, barreling down a snow-covered highway when it’s not designed for that kind of speed. God has a plan and a purpose for all our lives. Like me. I’m a writer, a communicator, a storyteller. I’ve known that since I was little. So if I try to make a living using mathematics, not only am I going to fail miserably at my job, I’ll be miserable. God has equipped us for whatever task He intends us to complete. We just have to be willing to take Him at His Word.

So ask yourself what you’re afraid of this morning. Are you crawling along when you could be running? Or are you running down a road you should be walking? Personally, I prefer speed. I’ll always go fast if I can, but pushing my limits on an icy road when my car has bald tires is more than irresponsible. It’s just plain dumb.

So don’t be dumb. Know your limits, but don’t be afraid to push them when you know you’re where God wants you.

Glen Eyrie Castle - Colorado Springs, CO

Remember who your enemy is

This is war. I get caught up in everyday life pretty easily, and I forget that while we are living life daily, we are also waging war daily too. Our lives are a war, and every day is a battle where you either win and take ground or lose and give up ground.

But this is a strange war in that we aren’t fighting people we can see. We aren’t fight anyone around us. We aren’t fighting the people who we think we’re fighting. When it comes to this war, we’re fighting the unseen.

Glen Eyrie Castle - Colorado Springs, CO

Glen Eyrie Castle – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

We have an enemy out there. If you are a Christ follower, you have an enemy who wants nothing more than to see you suffer. Satan won’t stop until he can bring all of us down, wreck our lives, destroy our testimony, and drag us through the dirt until we have convinced ourselves that God doesn’t love us anymore.

He can’t keep us out of heaven. If you believe in Christ, that’s where you’re going no matter how you live. But Satan will do all he can to keep you from reaching other people with the truth.

For the next two weeks, my church will be putting on an outreach drama that God uses to rock our city every year. He’s been rocking our city with it for twelve years so far, and I’m confident that year 13 won’t be any different. Why? Because we have no idea what we’re doing.

Satan throws everything he’s got in our path during this time of year. It’s crazy. Ridiculous even. To the point of being hilarious. Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, he throw something else awful at you. And there’s no other explanation for it — for why it had to happen just at this very moment — other than the fact that he’s trying to distract us.

Why? Because there’s something about the truth of Scripture that people can’t ignore. And there’s something about presenting the Gospel clearly that they can’t argue with. And when 500 people praying specifically for one thing — that God would work in hearts — God honors it. And Satan doesn’t want that. So he tries everything he can to get us to trip up. To fight with each other.

It’s an old tactic. Make your opponents lose focus. Force them to fight with each other rather than focusing on the real battle. Satan has been doing this for years. And the irony is that we don’t have to let him win. We don’t have to fight with each other. We just need to remember who our enemy is and why we’re doing what we’re doing. We need to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the goal, and we need to remember that this is a war.

We aren’t fighting this war with our fists or heavy weaponry. We’re fighting with prayer. With faith. With the truth in Scripture. With love that only the Holy Spirit can give us to share with other people.

So whether you’re participating in this gigantic outreach at NewSpring Church in Wichita, KS, or whether you’re going to work or school or a family gathering, don’t forget that you’re fighting a battle today. So in the thick of the fight, keep your eyes on the real enemy and remember that he’s only fighting so viciously because he’s already lost. And as long as we remember what side we’re on, he won’t take anybody else down with him.