Avoiding the “Bonk”

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1 NLT)

While I can’t personally imagine the horrors of slavery, having been a pastor for many years and spending a fair amount of time visiting and speaking with those in prison, I believe the Lord has given me insight into understanding why returning to prison (slavery) is appealing to many who have been released. Apparently, this isn’t only a current problem, but one with which many early believers wrestled as well.

In a Family Life devotional by Janel Breitenstein, she wrote: “A friend of mine is readying to run a half-marathon up Pikes Peak. Aside from the curious question of why she is friends with the likes of me, she has been trying to overcome the “bonk.” I have not heard of this term in the same way in which she refers to it, so I lean in. The bonk, she explains, is when her body simply can’t go anymore in her 7,000-plus foot ascent, the summit of which will be at a height of over 14,000 feet. (To help one comprehend the lack of oxygen and general sanity: Trees give up growing around 11,500 feet.)” 

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

While you may not see yourself as a “runner,” the Bible refers to us as Jesus followers using that metaphor. For example, in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

There is a sense in which each of us is subject to the “bonk” as we run our race of faith. In much the same way as our body craves oxygen, our spirit’s should crave Jesus, our breath of life. The good news is, nothing, absolutely nothing, can keep us from having our desire for God satisfied. Even if someone chokes the life out of me, my spirit will rejoice because I’ll then be transferred from this life of pain, heartache, and suffering, to my joy-filled, never to struggle again, body of eternal life.

But in this life sin is constantly nosing around, looking for a way to deprive us of our needed time with the Lord. And if we’re not alert and sensitive to what’s happening, like a runner who hasn’t trained and isn’t prepared for the effects of thinner air, we’ll allow the enemy of our soul to choke our spiritual life, depriving us of our infilling of God’s presence.

Until we realize how desperate we are for God’s presence 24/7, we’ll waste time that we should be devoting to God’s written Word and miss out on His holy presence. Yes, of course, God is always with us, but the point here is, we’re not always with Him. As Paul urges us in the Galatians passage above, it takes effort to stay free.

That’s why many ex-prisoners commit crimes shortly after being released in order to be sent right back to prison. Why? Because that’s become their new “frame of reference.” It’s what they’ve become accustomed to and transitioning to life outside of prison is more than they can handle. It’s the same reason people remain in abusive relationships. At least there they know what they’re dealing with. And as sad and sick as that may be, we often do the same thing in our walk with God.

Walking with Jesus is a 24/7/365 proposition. When we let our guard down and begin dabbling in sin that we’re fully aware is wrong and pulling us in a bad direction, we must let that be for us a huge “red flag,” sending us to Jesus and the faithful friends He’s put in our life who will walk with us back to safety.

Let’s look at this more closely tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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