Why Play in the Puddle?
By John Miller
Scripture assures us that Our Sovereign and Loving God has prepared an eternal paradise for us beyond our wildest comprehension. So, it’s reasonable that God’s promised heavenly eternity should be our most ardent desire, and perhaps it is for many. But so many Christians struggle with their walk with Christ. We often make our Father’s promise of heaven seem so distant; so difficult.
Some still think that they must work their way to heaven, yet we all fail in our spiritual walk. Perhaps our religion has left us feeling unsatisfied, helpless and lost. More often, it is our preoccupation with our busy lives and the trappings of today’s world that get in the way of a confident, daily walk with Christ. We, perhaps unknowingly, step into Satan’s puddle, there to become consumed with just living and negotiating the tangle of circumstances that befall us. Days, weeks, months or years pass as we wallow in the quagmire of distraction; our minds and hearts far from Christ our Savior and King.
The puddle may not always seem necessarily bad; Satan often makes it feel pretty good, until we learn otherwise. He owns the puddle and makes room for every struggling and unguarded soul. It is polluted with a familiar mixture of addictive and man-made idols; our “comfort zone”; expensive homes and toys and liberal lifestyles that bury us in debt. Issues in the home are easily blended in, as are the endless external influences that conflict with the Christian life and tear at the very fabric of our family. He laughs when we step out of the muck long enough to go to church, only to mindlessly return to the puddle; we have likely forgotten God’s message for the day. He frequently stirs in new and interesting ingredients of distraction, lest we get bored. His cesspool is also concentrated with pride, pain, envy, greed, worry and anxiety. The sinful muck that sticks to us bores into our soul. It has a way of defining us. We may wear it with false pride or wallow in misery or self pity. Drugs, alcohol or other diversions don’t help. We cannot scrub the muck away by ourselves. It ends up being intolerable and devastating, as we become more soiled and dirtier than we ever imagined. It’s a trap! It’s quicksand! Why do we go there? Why the puddle? What did we, saved people, forget along the way?
Our God, our Creator, loves us and delights in pouring out His abundant saving grace upon us. He desires that we fully experience the eternal paradise that awaits us. His desire for us is beyond human imagination. John 3:16 clearly expresses how much God values His Creation. God loved us before we were created. Love so profoundly deep, that we were created by our God who knew beforehand that he would have to send his son, Jesus Christ to suffer and die on a Roman cross to work out our redemption. In John 17:17, Jesus assures us that believers in Him are sanctified by God’s truth – separated from this world by God’s holy and unchanging word, which is truth! And, Christ made the way to send us the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whose job it is to guide us; to point us to our Savior. There it is! It is God’s precious word that we have forgotten; his promise of grace, forgiveness, mercy, and salvation in Christ Jesus.
From our place in the puddle, we have not fully understood or embraced God’s holy word which has justified, sanctified and glorified us in the name of Jesus Christ. Perhaps we’ve ignored it of late; perhaps for years. Or maybe we’ve been struggling to work out our own salvation, as if we were able to add to Christ’s work. We forget that God’s plan of Reconciliation has been fully completed once and for all by Christ on the cross. Our only work is to believe in the One He has sent. John 6:29. Oh, it sounds so simple. Simple, yes, but it is firmly rooted in God’s divine and purposeful truth; that our sinner’s souls have been purchased at an indescribably precious cost to our Father and Savior. “It is finished,” our blessed Savior declared; three of God’s precious words that we should have carved in our redeemed soul.
Our time in Satan’s puddle has passed. It’s time to step out permanently and let Christ cleanse us as only he can, each and every time we need it. It’s time to trade the puddle for the quiet and certain joy that comes from knowing and trusting in the reality of God’s truth. It is time to escape the pain of an emotional roller coaster of spiritual doubts. For, it is by God’s unchanging, faithful, all-powerful and purposeful word that we are made a new creation in Christ Jesus and given a steadfast spirit that will someday go to the Father. Who needs a puddle when we are called to bask in the light of the inexpressible, inexhaustible and immeasurable Grace of God!