Have you ever thought about a train and how it stays on the track? The wheels have a flange on the bottom that looks like an L. This is what hooks to the inside of the track. Does the train ever derail? Yes, it does. There are a few reasons for this. It could be a broken rail. The gauge (the distance between the track rails) may be too wide for the wheels. Perhaps, the wheel picks the switch. The switch is the mechanism designed to lead the train from one track to another. If the switch isn’t adjusted properly then there’s a gap between the track and the switch. The wheel will roll the flange into the gap and the train will fall off the track. It will be derailed. To keep a train on the track, it takes good maintenance of the equipment. Let’s think about our Christian walk. It takes maintenance in our lives to follow Christ.
How in the world do we get off-track as followers of Christ? It’s not as hard to do as you may think. We all have the ability to form habits. This is a gift from God. Have you considered how your ability to drive is so habitual? You jump into the car, turn the key, put it into drive, and go forward. You didn’t have to think about it. This habit came about after much practice behind the wheel. In the same way, we practice each day in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We’ll think of it as “the more I __________, the more I will _________.” We can put whatever we want to in the blank. It’s about forming a habit.
The more I swear, the more I will swear.
The more I play games on the internet, the more I will play games on the internet.
The more I respond in anger, the more I will respond in anger.
The more I put myself first, the more I will put myself first.
The more I isolate, the more I will isolate.
Do you get the picture? We choose things in this life to focus on that have nothing to do with our Christian walk. It’s so easy to continue to choose them as they become a habit in our lives. We derail our Christian walk by our thoughts, words, and deeds which don’t line up with who we say we are. The reason we continue to “do more” is because we are looking for peace and joy in the things we’re choosing. There is no peace and joy in not following Jesus. That’s where peace and joy is found. It’s hard to right a train which has derailed. It takes cranes and multiple men to lift it up again. We, on the other hand, can make steps to right ourselves. This change is not on our own as followers of Christ. We have the Spirit within, the body of Christ, and the Word of God to help us to get it right. Let’s think of what that would look like.
The more I pray, the more I will want to pray.
The more I fellowship with the body, the more I will want to fellowship with the body.
The more I go to church, the more I will want to go to church.
The more I read God’s Word, the more I will want to read God’s Word.
The more I depend on the Spirit, the more I will want to depend on the Spirit.
The more I remind myself of the gospel, the more I will believe the gospel.
You see all of the above are habits worth forming. We can’t form a habit without effort, work, and practice. When we begin to form these habits, then we will be surer of our salvation. We will have joy and peace in Christ and what he has accomplished for us. The life lived as a follower of Christ is so worth the effort.
This road of life is not easy. There are many bumps, twists, and turns which can tempt us to derail from the track God has prepared for us. We will be tempted to pick the switch by falling into the gap created in our life by this world’s system. This world is not home for followers of Christ and its system will not bring us the peace we need. Paul states this for us in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This world doesn’t have the answers for life, God does. We will derail our lives by seeking our own way and creating habits that move us further from the Lord.
The more I pursue God and his ways, the more I will pursue God and his ways.
Let’s stay on track!