Monday, February 13, 2017

Medium, Not Rare

I bet when you read that title, you pictured a nice, big steak sizzling on the grill or maybe a thick, juicy hamburger.  Are you hungry yet?  Well, sorry to ruin your drooling, but this post isn't about grilling or even food, for that matter.  It's about people.  To be more precise, Christians.  And if you really want to boil it down, it's about us.

The word "medium" denotes a middle ground.  It's not small or large; it's somewhere in between.  In the case of food, it's not well-done or rare; it's in between.  Ah, the land of in between.  Are you familiar with it?  The children of Israel were.

In the story of their deliverance out of Egypt, they declared--not once or twice, but multiple times--"Oh, that we were back in Egypt." Why, oh why would they want to return to a life of slavery? Honestly, it's because they were content with the middle ground.  True, things in Egypt weren't great, but they could be worse, right?  In the wilderness, they didn't have a clue what was going on.  At least in Egypt, they knew what to expect.  So, when faced with the choice of a life of slavery or a life of uncertainty, they opted for Egypt.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but we're guilty of doing the same.  We, too, can be lulled into the contentment of the middle ground.   Think about it for a moment.  Are there changes in your life that you know you need to make, but there's really not enough incentive for you to make them?

The job isn't the best, but it could be worse, so you stick it out.

Your health isn't where you know it could be, but it could be worse, so you continue down the road of unhealthy eating habits.

Your marriage isn't all it could be, but overall, things are working, so you don't do anything to rock the boat.

You feel the Lord calling you to take a step of faith, but the fear of falling keeps your feet firmly glued in place.

Do any of these sound familiar?  They do to me.  Somewhere along the way, Christians have adopted the philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  And while that sounds good in theory, it's Biblically incorrect.  John 10:10 tells us, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Life more abundantly!  Not life that's not too bad but could be better.  Not a ho-hum existence.  Not an endure-it-but-don't-enjoy-it kind of life.  Christ came that we could have life more abundantly, but it will require some work and decisions on our part, and I think that's why we're content in our discontentment--because we're not willing to put in the time, effort and faith that's required to make a change.  After all, the perfect job is not likely to fall in our lap.  Ideal health won't simply come to us; we have to eat right and exercise.  Our marriages won't improve unless we spend time on improving them by setting aside time to be together with our spouse and communicate with one another.  And that step of faith?  Well, if God pushed us off that precipice of uncertainty, it wouldn't be a step of faith, now would it?

Now, before you throw something at me, let me say that putting time, effort and faith into these things won't make all our problems go away.  In fact, it may even open the door to new challenges.  That's just life, but the point is to move forward in faith and stop being content to sit in the middle.  No, we can't necessarily change the circumstances, but we can change our attitudes in the midst of those circumstances.  We can decide that we're tired of being slaves to convenience and knowing what to expect and we're ready to step out in faith and follow wherever God leads.

Yes, there are far too many Christians happy with the medium, and for that reason, being medium is not rare!  Be unique.  Live the abundant life that God has promised you, and don't look back.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. - Revelation 3:16

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