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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Rest Is Just Details

Two weeks ago my wife and I went to her uncle's funeral. Her dad had two brothers. Of course, we went to her dad's funeral. We went to the first uncle to die. It made sense to go to the last one's. He is a believer with a strong faith. The funeral was a celebration which urged others to become believers.

The journey had to be planned after we made the decision to go. We needed to make airline arrangements for the 1500 one-way trip. We needed to rent a car. We had to call relatives to tell them we were coming to stay. The dog needed to be taken care of. The people at our workplaces had to be told. We made arrangements for the mail, newspaper work that we would have to do when we came back. It was a lot of details but they were relatively easy once the decision to go was made.

Somehow I don't think that is the case for people who claim to have made the decision to follow Christ. They don't seem to be busy in working out the details of the journey. Many are like those who say they will go to Hawaii some day but never save any money, never make any airline arrangements nor look for hotels in which to lodge. They say they are going but they never do. Do you think they have made the decision to go or that they that they wish they had made the decision to go?

The decision to follow Jesus is a fight. There are always forces that are trying to divert your journey. There are those who will try to have you follow them. They will entice you to forget your journey altogether. You have to make the decision to follow Christ. That means you must keep Him in sight so that you can follow.  You must be like a ball carrier on the way to the goal line. You must get us and run the ball toward that goal no matter how many times you get knocked down.

The decision to follow Jesus is faith. There are times when all that your human sense tell you to do something that He would not lead you to. It seems that it would be to your greater advantage to deviate from His leading. Faith is a gift from God. It draws us to Him. It keeps us on the right path.

The decision to follow Jesus is one of good conscience. Down deep we know what we need to do.We have to justify every action we commit. We have to claim a need in order to do what we do. But answering the need of the moment rather than that of eternity will mar our consciences. We can claim the need to be unfaithful to our spouses when we feel neglected but our consciences are severely damaged after the acts of sin are committed. (I have not personally committed these sins but I have spoken to many who cannot shed enough tears because of what they have done.)

Our faith is shipwrecked when we do not work out the details of our decision to follow Jesus. Our ship is sunk. It must be rebuilt if we are to continue the journey. This is not an easy task.

Recently a captain in the Mediterranean took his ship too close to the rocks so that he could recognize an official on the shore. He took his eyes off the journey he had to do something for which he knew better and sunk the massive ship. He lost his livelihood. Many people lost their lives. The ship was lost to its owners. It all happened because he deviated from the journey. He forgot his decision to guide the boat.

The decision to follow Christ must be like a captain who has made the decision to take his boat to a certain destination. There should not be any deviations once the decision is made.You follow Him wherever He leads. That is the result of the decision. Once that is made:

The rest is just details.

1 Timothy 1:18-19 (NIV) 18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

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