Ever ride a roller coaster? You’re standing in line with great anticipation. With each step the gate draws closer. Your pulse races, your heart pounds and you begin to talk louder as you step into your seat. The safety bar comes down and locks into position. Self-preservation screams for you to leave, but you’re trapped, trapped like a rat. No turning back now. The car begins to move out and up the ramp, climbing higher and higher until all you can see is sky. Then it’s over the top with a head jerk and you’re screaming all the way straight down to the ground. At the last minute the track turns avoiding a nasty collision with good ol’ terra firma. Gravity propels you along the track up, down and around until suddenly the brakes catch and you are slowed to a stop at the place where you began this thrilling adventure. With excitement in your voice and energy surging through your body you disembark and wobble down the walkway while presenting an air of assured control.
Maybe you prefer bungee jumping, skydiving, hang-gliding or some other extreme sport. So many activities today can provide such an adrenaline rush. We entertain ourselves with rides and activities which push our physical bodies to the limit for maybe 30 seconds at the most. In all honesty our lives are like this. Up and down, up and down, over and over again. We live searching for the daily high, but never really able to sustain it. Our days are filled with longing for that next big thrill, the next rush, the next high. It’s a never-ending cycle of highs and lows. Our appetites are never satisfied [Ecclesiastes 6:7].
Think about it. The Christian life is the greatest adventure ever experienced [John 14:12, Matthew 28:18-20]. The high provided by a personal relationship with God is unsurpassed by any of the extreme activities we can name. There is no greater high than to walk with God on a daily basis [Philippians 3:7-8]. The rush of hearing His voice and realizing He is talking with you [John 10:27]. There is the thrill of His answering your questions and blessing you with your daily needs [Jeremiah 33:3]. It boggles our minds to think that the all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful God who created us would even consider getting to know us on a personal, one-on-one basis [Colossians 1:25-27]. Yet He does, He will, and He can be a part of our lives [James 1:18]. He can talk with us and we can hear His voice [John 10:27]. His presence is unmatched [Isaiah 46:9]. His blessings are invaluable and unequaled [Zechariah 9:17a]. Since there is no one like Him, God’s presence is unmistakably unique.
Think of it this way: you wake up in the morning not knowing where the coaster of life will take you. Still you have the promise of God that the Holy Spirit, which indwells the Christian’s life, is right there with you through every curve, over every summit, and down every incline [Psalm 23]. He never leaves us no matter where the coaster of life carries us [Deuteronomy 31:6]. He is more powerful than man can imagine, has more knowledge than we can comprehend. He gives an abundant life [John 10:10] and one which never ends [John 14:14]. Christians have uncertainties and fears as daily circumstances change just as anyone else’s. Yet it’s also a life of security, peace, and assurance because God does not change [Malachi 3:6]. He has been, He is, and He will always be the same [Hebrews 13:8]. Since God does not change He is the same as He was during the Old Testament times. His desires are the same, His work is the same, His Word is the same, His character is the same and the principles by which He operates are the same. Everything about Him is the same. When our days are spent acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in our lives, then He gives us direction [Proverbs 3:5-6]. When we acknowledge His saving grace, then He keeps us from stumbling through life making wrong choices [Psalm 56:13].
Living with Him, walking with Him, talking with Him is a life no one should miss, but sadly so many do [Matthew 7:13-14]. So much of our lives are spent rejecting even the idea of God and in so doing we fail to acknowledge His presence and His blessings. We are the ones missing out on the uniquely abundant life God can offer. Our selfish rebellion toward God is an offense to Him [Matthew 16:23], one which He must punish [Lamentations 4:22]. His character and personage require the Creator to be in control of His creature and punish the creature when necessary [Romans 2:2]. Still His love and care for His creation require Him to provide forgiveness to the creature [John 3:16]. This is a mystery to us since we have a hard time grasping the idea of death, the giving up of one’s life, as a means of atoning for our sins [Isaiah 55:7-9]. The sacrifice Jesus made for God and for us satisfies God’s wrath toward sin [Romans 5:9]. If we reject Jesus and His saving work, then we are rejecting God’s forgiveness. If we are unrepentant in our life then we make a mockery of Jesus’ death and resurrection since with the offer of forgiveness Jesus calls us to repentance from the sins for which He died [John 8:11].
Even Christians can miss out on the adventurous and abundant life God has given to them. Do you remember your parents reminding you to do something with a statement similar to this one: “I’ve told you and told you!” Well Christians are God’s children and sometimes we decide not to listen to God [1 Corinthians 14:21]. Our old nature rises up and we want to decide what is best and where we want to go [Romans 7:20]. Just like children we aren’t listening. We don’t want to listen. We want to be allowed to go on our merry way. Well, we think it’s merry but it’s really just one disappointment after another as we wonder through each day. There is no abundance, no adventure. To be honest it really becomes a struggle. Loneliness sets in and pretty soon disappointment and depression begin to follow. We become desperate for a feeling of being wanted and important. Then just like non-Christians we reach out for anything or anyone who promises that rush, that thrill, that high we knew with God [Romans 1:25]. The problem we face is that since He is our Creator and unmatched in His unique personage, then He can be replaced by no one or nothing [Psalm 135:15-18]. He is irreplaceable in our lives. We can’t do without Him.
The solution is to surrender our will to His [Galatians 2:20]. We must find pleasure in His presence and who He is, not just what He does for us [Psalm 37:4]. He is the abundant life, the great adventure that we seek [Psalm 119:2]. So live each day by faith in Him acknowledging His presence and work in your life [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Live each day filled with the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 5:18b], humbly[1 Peter 5:6] submitting to His presence and work [James 4:7a]. You will be amazed at the things God will do in you and through your life [1 Corinthians 2:9].
Hugh Folds, Minister of Education and Youth SPBC