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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Coasting...
CoastingIn any given bike ride, after building up some steam, one will often stop peddling for a while and allow their momentum to carry them, this is called "coasting."

The experienced rider doesn't coast very often - usually coasting and braking happen at the same time - that is, the only time an experienced rider bothers to stop peddling is when they are coming to a stop.

There are times however, (particularly when a strong wind is blowing against you) when even an experienced rider begins to exhaust his or her strength, and begins to coast here and there in order to conserve energy.

Perhaps a better definition of coasting ...would be to stop putting any effort into moving ahead.

Coasting is also something that Christians are inclined to do when they begin to feel exhaustion from their efforts. They short shrift their prayer time, and their time in God's word. They no longer go to the throne of grace with the "little things" - and put plainly, they stop putting a lot of effort into their walk with the Lord.

To be clear on this point, Christianity isn't a cakewalk. Jesus didn't rest on his being sinless as though being without sin was what it was all about. Not that sin is tolerable or something we can overlook, but that even if we were to live in sinless perfection, we wouldn't be Christ-like until we gave ourselves entirely to the ministry of God.

It is a small but important distinction, many of us pursue sinlessness in the hope that by being less sinful we will be more pleasing to God. This is what the Pharisees thought at least, and since they couldn't actually keep the law, they interpreted the law so that at least their own interpretation of it was keep-able. They didn't give themselves to the ministry of God, they gave themselves to a form of pride - personal righteousness. They were trying to earn favor with God, and actually imagined that they had done so. It must have really been a slap in the face for Christ to teach that our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees.

Some people are obsessed with cleaning - they are endlessly cleaning their homes and refuse to have anyone visit because they are ashamed at the mess - not that the house is untidy - just that it isn't perfect. This is a sort of pride, but it is also the picture of how some believers focus on sin - they believe that they are useless in ministry until they have achieved a sort of sinless state.

Not that they have written out a thesis to that effect - if you were to ask them, they might not be able to articulate the thought - but if you spoke with them for a while, specifically diagnosing what is going on in their lives, you will find (in these people at least) the reason for their lack of ministry is that they are too busy trying to be perfect. They are never at rest because they don't understand what it means to take Christ's yoke, and so they are trying to yoke themselves to Christ through perfection, rather than accept Christ's yoke of grace.

The Spirit within us is going to sour or love of sin, and that will produce an effect in the life of the sinner. We need to trust the Spirit to do that - not that we turn that into an antinomian style liberty, but that we are careful to keep that from being our primary focus. Our focus mustn't be on ourselves and how sinful we are - our focus must be on Christ our God and King.

Imagine yourself in the throne room of a great king. You are given a spotlessly clean robe that covers you tip to toe in order to present yourself. You put it on and enter. The king is about to speak with you but you are distracted because earlier that day you spilled chocolate ice cream on the white shirt that you are wearing under the robe. So you pull your hands in your sleeves, and start rubbing at the stain. The king waits patiently, and you just stay there all day rubbing at the stain. It never dawns on you that the king knows the stain is there and that this is the very reason he gave you a spotless robe to wear - your focus is on trying to make yourself presentable to the king - and in so doing you ignore the efficacy of the robe the king gave you to wear.

I am of course talking about being clothed in Christ before God. We must learn to trust that our standing before God the father is in Christ and only in Christ - we can only present ourselves to God "in" Christ, because we will never be clean enough outside of Christ. We come by faith.

Again, this is not to suggest that we can sin all we want and expect God to fellowship with us just because we are in Christ. Our standing is in Christ, but our walk is either in the spirit or in the flesh. When we are in the Spirit we have access to God through Christ, and when we are in the flesh we do not.

Which brings us back to the idea of coasting.

I testify to everyone reading this blog that I have had deeper times in the Lord in the past than I have had in the recent past. I know more about the Lord now than ever I have, and sadly I know more about my self now than ever in the past. The business of life, church, and mounting obligations have squeezed me. I used to have enough free time that spending time with God was not a sacrifice - it just fit into my schedule. But as I involved myself in the ministry, and in my family, and in accepting whatever obligations I submitted myself to - my "free time" disappeared, and suddenly I found that what was once effortless and purchased with little currency (devotional time in prayer and studying of scripture) was becoming expensive, such that my devotional time came at the sacrifice of sleep, leisure, or even other ministries.

At first I didn't notice the "squeeze" - and then it was just something heavy feeling - like wearing spiritual "lead boots" - but over time I began to notice that I wasn't reading the word as much, and my prayer time was beginning to be awkward. Even knowing something was afoot didn't help much - I had so much on my plate that I didn't have time for self examination. I was riding into the wind, and the effort began to tire me.

Over this past week, I pieced it together - I had been coasting - resting in the momentum I have built up previously - it was easy to worship the Lord when it came at no real cost to me - but when God turned the heat up, my truest heart began to show itself. I wasn't as sold out to God as it had seemed - that knowledge bummed me out long enough that yesterday, because of some business with the church, I suddenly realized I can't coast along like this and expect to be effective in the work of the Lord. So, as much as I was able, I repented - and determined again to start peddling.

That means that I will be posting a bit less than I have been lately, but hopefully what I do post will say more.

God bless.
posted by Daniel @ 7:15 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 9:52 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said…

    Edifying thoughts.

     
  • At 10:40 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Ephraim said…

    Daniel,

    This exactly why I stop by to read. Takes me back to 1971 in Denver. And I am happy to be reminded about these very truths. I'm right there with ya bro. Unfortunately.

    Where to find the strength to climb back on the bike and start peddling again. I know, I know. Soon.

    btw, this was our standard fare at the Spirit filled fellowship I attended back then. Like your Bill, we all stood amazed and in awe of the Presence of YHVH. True brokeness and repentance was the result.

    Now it seems so far away.

    Shalom

     
  • At 1:27 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Rose~ said…

    That was a great post, Daniel. I really appreciate your word pictures. ... the person in the robe with the chocolate stain underneath ... what a great illustration. I love your open-ness and I pray God will bless you in the coming weeks.

     
  • At 5:37 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Jim said…

    Amen brother! This has been my experience as well many times. Life does tend to crowd out those intimate times of fellowship with the Lord, and He needs to remind us that we have strayed.

    Grace in your walk,

    Jim

     
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