I’ve been repointing our patio, and decided to do the same to the area around the side and rear of our double garage. I was surprised to see that the concrete join between the slabs and the rear wall of the garage looked strange. The concrete was still joined to the wall, but was above the slabs by a couple of centimetres. The slabs all seemed level, which made it seem even stranger. Then I realised that the whole section of slabs had sunk slightly; there had been slippage. Without the concrete left hanging in the air I would have never known.
What had happened hadn’t occurred in an instant, or even over a few months. It had happened over a period of a few years, little by little, millimetre by millimetre. Then I realised that, in the same way, we don’t suddenly jump off a spiritual cliff. It happens gradually. Our drift away from God and into sin is usually a slow, almost imperceptible slide or slippage. We’re often not aware of how far we’ve slipped away from walking close to Jesus until something serious happens, and by then it can be too late. Not too late for repentance and receiving God’s forgiveness, but perhaps too late to save our job, our marriage or our ministry.
I believe if we’re to take today’s ‘seed’ seriously, we need to ask ourselves two questions. Firstly, have I slipped, or am I slipping, in terms of following Jesus? To find out we need to come humbly before Him in prayer and ask Him to highlight any areas of our lives that are off-centre against the plumb-line of His Word. A useful way to identify slippage is to prayerfully consider whether our love for Jesus is hot, cold or just lukewarm (see Revelation 2:4-5).
Secondly, to put plans in place to prevent that slippage occurring. Romans 13:14 ‘But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires’. That means putting barriers between anywhere I know I shouldn’t go or might be tempted to go (mentally not just physically). In 2002, Mike Pence (US Vice President) announced that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife, and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side. It’s known as the ‘Billy Graham rule’ as he famously refused to meet, travel, or dine with a woman alone. It caused a furore amongst some groups, but may be a healthy guideline for men and women, and would have saved many marriages if implemented. Let’s not worry about what others might say, but let’s be more concerned about making ‘no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires’. That also means taking every thought captive, and not letting our mind wander into sexual areas. What barriers do you need to put in place, or reinstate to avoid any spiritual slippage?
Prayer: Dear Lord, please show me if I’ve slipped in any areas of my Christian life. Reveal to me any areas where my love for You has grown cold. If I have, please give me the strength and motivation to do something about it. Help me to put in place the right barriers physically and mentally to prevent that slippage, and help me to turn to You for the strength to keep on doing it. Amen.
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