Monday, March 21, 2022

           Getting stuck is never fun.  We can get stuck without a car, stuck in mud, stuck in a storm without an umbrella and stuck in a situation where we would rather not be.  We can also get stuck in our faith.  And in those times, we are not where we would like to be.  Or better yet, we are not where we know God wants us to be.  We are simply stuck.  Israel was stuck in the wilderness for some forty years.  They were stuck in an inhospitable and punishing terrain for reasons of their own making and choosing.  They could have gone straight to the land God had promised them after they left Egypt.  But their disobedience, sinfulness and stubbornness held them back.  The people were stuck on the edge of the Promised Land.  What a frustrating place to be!  But also, what a totally unnecessary place to be.
            I read a devotional recently written by Lori Wilkerson Stewart where she wrote about Israel being stuck in the land of “almost.”  And they were...almost in the land God had chosen for them but not there yet.  Even Moses lost his place.  It can be easy to get stuck in our own land of “almost.”  We can see something good that lies ahead but we cannot reach it.  In fact, it remains agonizingly frustrating and painful.  A gambler believes he is just one more roll of the dice away from a life-changing win.  An abusive parent believes this latest episode of rage is the last one—better times are on the way.  Joshua gives us some help for how to break free from being stuck in the land of almost.  “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do” (Joshua 1:7). 
            We are to know God’s Word and follow it wholeheartedly—not just picking and choosing whatever seems best to us.  We are to seek the Lord with a broken and contrite heart—wanting Him and Him alone above all other things that we could pursue.  We are to be strong, courageous and consistent in doing what is right.  We are not to let sin crowd our lives or blind our eyes.  God has good for us to pursue and to do.  If you find yourself stuck today spiritually, there are some good steps you can begin to take.  You do not have to stay where you are.
            Make time to pray and read the Bible.  Worship the Lord—and not just on Sundays.  Worship Him throughout the week.  Complement your Bible reading with a good devotional book.  Our church library is filled with excellent resources and our staff is happy to help you find something that fits where you are in life.  Serve and volunteer.  Add some energy and momentum to your life.  Get moving to serve others.  When we stop looking at ourselves or looking down, we enjoy a better view of life and faith.
            If we are not moving forward and growing in our faith, we can easily get stuck.  And even worse, we can slide backwards.  Few Christians want to be stuck or aspire to be that way.  No one wants to be voted “most likely to be stuck.”  Situations happen.  Life changes.  Battles start to pile up.  And we let some important values start to slide.  In your mind, name some ways that God has been good to you.  Now, think of how you can use that goodness or blessing by paying it forward into someone else’s life.  Muscles that sit idle and unused will surely atrophy.  And so too will faith muscles that we do not use.  An inactive faith will atrophy and find itself stuck like a Russian tank in a Ukrainian winter.  If you are stuck today, you certainly are not alone.  And recognizing your stuck spiritual state is a good first step.  Next, get up, get moving and get your faith back to where you know it should be.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can always share our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.
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