Sermon of the Week: Living out of the groove

By Jim Stultz

Charlotte Sun

I AM not the best bowler, but have had occasions when I was pretty successful.

Have you ever felt like you were on a winning streak and the ball seemed to be in a groove as you hit strike after strike? Isn’t it exciting to live life in the groove when things are going your way? It is wonderful when your health is OK and your family is doing fine and your bills are all paid. However, you and I know that life is not always lived in the groove. We can’t always throw strikes. As a matter of fact, sometimes we roll a gutter ball, don’t we?

God does not just call us to obedience to His Word when things are going our way. He expects us to live for Him even when we are in less than ideal circumstances. Some New Testament believers lived as slaves.

Yet even in that reprehensible position, God called them to “obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God” (Colossians 3:22). We must live for God even if we are undergoing physical illness, or married to an unsaved spouse, or suffering under a repressive government, or even caring for a disabled family member. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.”

Later in that chapter, Paul challenges all of God’s people with his own determination, “I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me” (Philippians 4:13, J B Phillips New Testament). Many feel that they have a pass on living for the Lord fully because of their unique situation. If only I was healthy; if only I had a little more money I would give to the church; if only my husband or my wife would do what they were supposed to; if only my boss were nicer; if only I had more time; and so on, the excuses continue.

Seldom do we stumble upon those times when everything seems to be going our way. Followers of Christ are called to faithfulness and obedience even when we are living out of the groove.

• Jim Stultz is pastor of Peace River Baptist Church in Punta Gorda. E-mail him at jimstultz@yahoo.com


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