Summary: The importance of Spiritual Growth, and how to go about it. Concentrates on the importance of the Bible, but could easily be adapted.
Story about the sinkholes. (Taken from Gordon Macdonald’s Ordering your Private World.)
Sinkholes occur because cavities under the ground become exposed. Sinkholes will occur in our lives if we do not keep them ‘filled up.’
I want to talk to you today about a problem I have seen many times as a Christian, and I want to warn you about it because I don’t want to see anyone here fall into the same trap!
I want to talk to you about preparing for a crisis. We all have crises in life:
† Death of a close friend or relative
† Loss of a job
† Loss of our health
These are all things that threaten to cause sinkholes. In Jesus’ words, they are the wind and the rain that threaten to destroy us. Unfortunately, many Christians take the wrong approach when dealing with them. They move away from God, not wanting to come close to him until they’ve got things sorted out. They seem to think that God isn’t interested in them unless they’ve got it together. Not quite right – God specialises in healing broken lives. But God also wants us to be prepared in times of trouble.
How do we protect against these things?
****Forewarned is forearmed!****
Now we all know that these things happen. We don’t usually expect it, although we may have some warning. But, like a lot of nasty things, we don’t worry about them until they happen.
This isn’t a bad way of operating. After all, we’d become nervous wrecks if all we did was worry about these things happening! Nevertheless, we’ve got to be prepared for them.
Several years ago I worked in a factory in Adelaide. If ever an emergency is going to happen, it would happen in a place like that. We had a forklift zipping around everywhere. We had people using dangerous chemicals. We had people using lathes and drills and other sorts of hazardous machinery. We had racks and shelves containing tonnes of steel and other metal. It wasn’t the most pleasant place on earth!
However, that didn’t mean it wasn’t a safe place to work in. We all knew the dangers that surrounded us, and we took steps to make sure accidents didn’t happen. And if one did, we all knew exactly what we had to do.
Everyone knew who to ring if somebody got injured. We all knew who the first aiders were. We all knew where the telephones were in case we had to ring an ambulance or fire engine. We all knew where we had to go if there was a fire. And we also knew that if there was a fire that the fire extinguishers worked, and that there were always people around who knew how to use them. Our bosses believed that it was more important to get employees home every night in one piece than to get products out to customers. If a crisis happened, we were ready.
Are we ready if a crisis occurs in our life? The trick here is to plan ahead. Jesus says the only sure way to get through a crisis is to build your life on his words. That way when the winds and the rain come, you’ll be ready. Let’s look at these two gentlemen now.
**William the Wise Man**
William knew a thing or two, and he wasn’t afraid to show it! What did he do that proved to save his life? He made sure his house had a foundation! He built on the words of Jesus Christ.
In other words, he applied the teaching of Jesus to his life. And he could only do that by studying it and doing it.
**Fred the Foolish Man**
You can just see Fred now, can’t you? Now he was cluey enough to build a house. He wasn’t a stupid person. But he was foolish. If you’re clever enough to build a house, you must be pretty dumb if you forget to build a proper foundation. I wonder what he said to people who asked him about it?
† Storms? I’ll worry about it when the time comes.
† Well, you know, I didn’t quite have the money. Give me five years and I should be able to back it up somehow.
† Why worry about storms? Look at the view I’ve got!
None of these excuse are really all that clever, are they? He’s thought about everything except what could go wrong.
Yet Christians frequently use similar excuses for not getting their spiritual lives in order.
† Crisis? I’ll worry about it at the time. Everything’s going so well for me now!
† I’m not in a position to begin spiritual exercise. Things (kids, work, sickness, whatever) might be different in a few years.