Avoiding the “Bonk” (Part 2)

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15 NLT)

In yesterday’s post we began looking at the spiritual implications of the “bonk,” which is something that happens to runners who are dealing with a lack of oxygen at higher elevations. Notice some key words in the verses above. “Work at.” “Watch out.” What are the implications?

Like a runner, we have a goal, a destination that we’re committed to reach. Too many in the church today have a “one and done” attitude, with the result, we’re producing a growing number of “sprinters,” not “cross-country runners.” It seems that in too many people’s minds, if they “sprint” to the altar and say a quick prayer, they’re done, safe, secure! Now all they have to do is wait to die.

And, yes, of course, I realize that’s not the intent or desire of the leaders of the church, and it’s frustrating to many dedicated and devoted pastors and leaders. But if our bent was to walk in holiness and freedom from sin, why is the Bible filled with instructions to do those things? That’s why Paul says, “work at living in peace with everyone.”

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, many don’t like to work at anything. They like to idle their time away doing the least they can possibly get by with. Why is it so difficult to get someone to read the Bible regularly? Forget about studying, memorizing, and applying it. Could it be we haven’t painted an accurate enough picture as to what’s at stake?

Note Paul’s words above: “for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” Whether that means in this life or the next, the point is the same. Holiness means to be set apart for sacred purpose. It means to be wholly God’s to do with as He sees fit. Holiness doesn’t intentionally ally with the enemy of our soul to carry out the will of our own desires. And yes, I understand that holiness is a process, and there is part of that that only God can do. But there’s also a part that only we can do.

At some point each of us must decide who’s going to rule our life – sin (our own lustful urges) or God. It’s not like anyone is fooling God. He knows our heart and He’s done everything imaginable and more to make it possible for us to live pleasingly before Him. But there comes a point when we must make up our mind to do what’s right, what’s honoring to God.  

Paul says, “watch out” and “Look after each other.” Why? “so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.” Salvation is a free, undeserved, unmerited favor that is all God and none of us; however, when we receive it, it comes with requirements that are non-negotiable. How so?

Paul writes in Philippians 2:12: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”

We’re saved FROM sin, TO holiness and right living. Is it too much to assume if there is no effort being put forth to obey God and little or no evidence that we’re seeking to live in the power He’s provided, then the seeds of salvation have not been planted?

The only reason we have a need to avoid the “bonk” is because we’re in the race. So the logical question then becomes, if I’m not bearing the fruit of a God-enriched life, am I not connected to the Vine? Have I not entered the race?

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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