PASTOR'S PEN: Downhill slide
When I was a kid back in Delaware, my parents enjoyed taking the family up to Lancaster, Penn. Here, we enjoyed seeing the Amish and going to Dutch Wonderland. Dutch Wonderland wets the appetite of a small child so one day they’ll desire the big amusement parks.
One of the amusements, which you may enjoy at many county fairs, is the giant slide. I would make my way to the left side of the big colorful slide, grab the burlap rectangle and make my way up what seemed like 1,000 steps to get to the top. I would get in line behind the slide of my choice and wait for my turn. The nerves I experienced from that height made me want to turn around and go back down the steps, but my pride would hear none of it. On my turn, I approached the slide, sat on my mat and away I went. Down one hill, a little straight away and then down the next, another straightaway and down again. What a ride! I would certainly be back on those steps to do it all over again.
That ride is kind of like our spiritual lives way too many times, or at least mine. We get up to where God is and enjoy the view from up there. We love our time with God, but then we go down farther and farther from Him. I break it down into three hills.
The first is Distance. We begin by getting away from God and other believers. We don’t read our Bible or pray as much. We stop spending our time with godly people. We’ve seen others distance themselves, but somehow we don’t notice it in ourselves. We’re just busy or need more family time or we’ll get around to it later.
After a straightaway takes us further from God we become Disobedient. We do things we know are wrong, but hide them. We secretly look at or read things that cause us to lust. We lie, but it’s not a bad lie. We are unkind to someone, but they really aren’t that kind to us. We probably feel guilty, but the excuses grow and those excuses lead down the straightaway to the last hill — Disregard.
Disregard means we don’t really feel guilty for what we do. We completely turn off the warnings of the Spirit, the Word and fellow believers. We go the opposite direction from what we used to know was right going against the Word of God without any real sense of remorse.
That slide downward is pretty slippery. I can attest to that — the physical slide and the spiritual one. But the good news is that we can get back up. God is at the top and, if we turn to Him, He will bring us back so we can enjoy the view and have fellowship with Him once again. If you’re on that slide or considering it, turn around and call out to God. He’s willing and able to give you the strength to climb back up.