Safe in Line: Digging Deeper into Victory Series, Conclusion


View on Lake Tekapo

Whatever situation we find ourselves in can be a learning experience. Even when patiently waiting in line for the next available stall at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Generally we men have no need to stand in line for such occasions, but not this day. There were four of us politely joking with one another as we waited for one of the two occupied relief centers to empty With the major emphasis naturally based on the word "waiting".

Then someone else stuck his head in the restroom. He decided he would check for other restrooms elsewhere, and then he was gone. We never saw him again.

The next person to poke his head in the door announced solemnly: "You know, there are more stalls next door!"

We all looked at each other, then the other three guys shrugged their shoulders and remained standing there as frozen statues. I decided to explore this new option, and sure enough, next door there were so many stalls that no waiting was required.

I have to wonder how many opportunities we miss by "playing it safe" - staying in "status quo"! A rich guy once grinned at Jesus and asked Him: "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18 NIV)

Have you noticed that Jesus never appealed to the psuche (soul)? This young lad quickly realized this when Jesus replied: "Why do you call me good? No one is good--except God alone." (Luke 18:19 NIV)

However when Jesus announced that love for God and mankind was the key to salvation, the rich guy's silly grin widened even more. He boldly declared with a sneer: "Hey, I am good at that. In fact I have always manifested love since the day I was born. Except for those dirty diapers, that is! But that's not my fault, all the stalls were occupied! I made it! Hello eternity! Here I come!" (In case you wondered, this is a paraphrase of his actual comments )

Jesus looked him straight in the eyes and declared: "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Luke 18:22 MSG)

We may think we have made it. We may really believe that we love God and others to the extreme, but in all reality, do we? We play it safe way too often. Who among us desires to live only for the needs of others? Who among us is so filled with that God-kind of love that we are ready to be possibly contaminated by the deadly diseases of others, like Father Damien and Mother Theresa? Would we measure up? Or would we be left wanting?

That young man left Jesus greatly disappointed: "This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go." (Luke 18:23 MSG)

He wanted to play it safe, and he missed the opportunity to really get to know the One who really cared for him!

How many preach a humanistic kind of transformed gospel, addressed directly to the soul? "God wants you to be wealthy! Give us your money and you will have a hundredfold return!" Not a bad investment, don't you think, especially in our current economy!

But this is not repentance, my friends! This is an encouragement to exalt our psuche even higher up! This has nothing to do with God, but rather, it's about "what's in it for me?"

In fact the word repentance comes from the Greek word "metanoia" which means literally "meta" new and "noia" knowledge. To have that kind of "new knowledge" we need new revelation from God, or in Greek, "apokalupsis", which means "apo" remove, "kalupsis" a veil or covering.

You see, after the fall we started to walk according to our own knowledge, following our "psuche's" lead. Now we have the opportunity to march with revelation as we have acknowledged "new knowledge" from higher up: "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV)

The power of repentance is closely tied to our realization of the true nature of our psuche. Only God's Holy Spirit can give us that revelation, as confirmed in His Word, and only He can lead us to taking our soulish nature to the cross.

Believe me, our soul sure doesn't like the idea of true repentance and will offer tempting alternatives to avoid it: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23 NIV)

Only God: "restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:3 NIV)

We can continue to live safely within the four walls of our exulted soul, but deep down we will continue to feel a deep emptiness. Victory will continue to be out of our reach and eternity will remain an unknown.

It sure is nice to wait safely in line, but is it possible that those coveted stalls might be broken?

Rob Chaffart

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