One of the individuals that I am witnessing to at the moment is a young man in his early twenties, he is deep in debt, has a wife and small child, and makes just enough money to get by. On top of this, due to an accident at a very young age, he walks on a prosthetic foot, and so due to limited mobility his employment opportunities are of course limited. He has been looking at a life of financial instability, as it were, for he sees himself as one not able to perform the task fully that he enjoys. He is young, and so his mind is still unable to comprehend the possibilities that are in front of him, if the daily needs are not met, his family will suffer, and so all that consumes him are the daily needs, and not the changes that he can make now for a better future for them, in other words, short term pain for long term gain.
These types of individuals generally reside in the short-term pain for the entirety of their lives, the sacrifices that are necessary to obtain a financially secure future for themselves are lost on the thoughts of the immediate. Four years’ worth of education for a lifetime of opportunity may as well be forty years, and the sad part is that forty years from now they will usually be at the same point in their life when these opportunities were presented to them. They see the risk as too great, the possibility of failure as too fearful, the rewards of the sacrifice and dedication as to far in the future to comprehend, and so they generally live their lives in the rut that they themselves have made, and a rut is nothing more than a grave that is open on both ends. Hopefully he will apply the wisdom that has been imparted to him, both the materialistic and the Scriptural, time will tell, I have hope, but my hopes are not high.
He is not the first person that I have spoken to in this vein and I must tell you that many that I have witnessed to in these areas are still to this day standing in the same spot, as it were, when I first met them, life is difficult, it always seems to be against us, the promises it offers are rarely kept, the sacrifices will more than likely not yield any fruit, so why try, just stay in the rut. Sound like some Christians you know? Many seem to have good intentions, but there are no rewards in Heaven for good intentions. The pattern is usually the same for these after salvation, the fire of the Holy Spirit over time becomes nothing more than weekly church attendance, studying of the Word of God gives way to selfish pleasure, and the calls that are placed on their hearts are drowned out by the noise of the world. The path they are to be on becomes a resting place, or at worse a rut, repeating the same words, same routine, same pattern each weekend. The Words of God become a catch phrase, held in place for those special moments, but not in daily commitment, the continual search for the things of the world and the pleasures it offers consumes their minds, not the Truths of Scripture, self will not die, and they don’t want it to.
This young man has the same opportunity that everyone on this planet does, what he does with it is his responsibility, it is mine to show him the Truth, not only of the world as best I can, but of the Scriptures. There are those who believe that this is not their place, at best they would only invite them to church, but more likely not even that would happen. It is in their minds the pastors, elders or deacons, or whatever terminology that your church uses, responsibility to go and reach the lost, theirs is only to show up on the weekend, maybe stay for the potluck occasionally, and sing the songs with vigor. True Christianity in many churches today is a joke, and the joke is not funny in the least to the Lord. Worship services offer no convicting messages, entertainment is the key, and all responsibility to reach the lost is left to others, to attempt to convict today is seen as condemning. To ask questions of the faith of others is seen as judgmental, to seek an answer to how the Lord is using them is looked upon as intrusive, this is the new breed of “Christians,” the lazy and disobedient who believe they have their key to the front door of Heaven, but they have no works, so their faith is dead. (James 2:26)
These of course will inform you of their near perfect attendance record at their church, the committees there that they belong to, even sometimes the teaching positions they have held within the building, but rarely if ever can they give the name of one they have led to Christ. The Words of Scripture rarely pass their lips outside of the church building, their prayer life is basically nonexistent, and the formation of nearly all their thoughts revolve around themselves and the world that surrounds them. Many times, when provoked, if you will, these individuals will staunchly defend their church, but not Christ, traditions are more important than Truth. Their minds are not only blinded by Satan, but they are self-deceived, they would no more open the Scriptures at home and check what the pastor said in his sermon with the Truths in the Word of God than they would miss a morning service. What the one behind the podium says is regarded as ultimate truth, not the Word of God. “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25) has become proof of salvation, and for some the only works necessary to prove that salvation is to be at the church every time the doors are open. The verse “Study to show thyself approved” (2 Tim. 2:15) is clipped off right there, for it is not their responsibility to “give an account of their faith,” that’s between them and God. To ask of them even the simplest questions of their faith and how the Lord is using them is seen as intrusive and judgmental, they are to be held accountable to no one, the pablum that the one behind the podium feeds them has told them so.
It is my desire that this young man and the others that I am witnessing to will come to Christ, but it is not my expectation, the path is very narrow, and few find the gate (Matt. 7:14). If he does, praise God, I will stand beside him as much as I can, guiding him in the Truths of the Word of God as the Lord leads, and informing him what He expects of His servants, but one day either he or I will not be there, and he will need to lean solely on the Lord, as we all should. How much he listens to the prompting of the Holy Spirit will be completely up to him, that is the free will that the Lord has blessed each of us with, but it is God’s will that our will be conformed to Christ. I will of course pray, as I have in the past for others, that he will be led to a fellowship of true believers, not just another entertainment clubhouse with a cross inside and a bell on the top of it. A place where a man of God speaks the Truths of Scriptures every weekend, no matter the cost, not somewhere that seeks to please the itchy ears of those in attendance.
The rut is easy to make my friends, just repeat the same routine constantly and you will find yourself in it, getting out of it takes enormous effort though, you don’t get to walk out of it, you have to climb out. It requires tremendous effort and ambition, and you will find yourself slipping back into it many times, but if you look up you will see the helping hand of the Lord waiting to pull you out. Very rarely in these instances does He jump down in there and carry you out, but He will reach down to help you, His grip is firm, and so must yours be. Determine to serve Him with your whole being and He will set you on the path of continuous forward movement, all the way to that narrow gate.