Before we were married, my wife, Ariel and I were in a long distance relationship for a short period of time. I say long distance... it was only 3 hours... but when you are dating and you’re “so in love”, 10 minutes feels long distance, amirite?
It made it even more tough considering we were engaged. During those long, drawn out, extremely tough, I mean awful sad months (go with me, I’m trying to get brownie points here), we got very accustomed to making the drive for a day and driving back (we all know Highway 59 was really the worst part.) And when you’re driving on an open road with no one really around you, especially when you’ve done it frequently, your gas pedal and your mind get set on cruise control.
Remember the last time that you took a really long road trip? Perhaps you remember the nuances of driving those long stretches on the road? Of course, you were aware of your surroundings, (at least I would hope so), but you probably listened to music, a podcast, or talked with a friend.
Here’s where I’m going with this:
If we are not careful, we can easily get trapped in a state of mental and spiritual cruise control.
I know many of you know what I’m talking about. It’s so easy to get stuck here. We get trapped in the day to day: the soccer and T-ball practices, back and forth to work, back and forth to school, and all of a sudden, it seems we end up in the mundane. As Christians, it’s easy to get trapped here after the initial excitement and buzz of giving your life to Jesus. At first you were ALL IN, but now you’ve set life on cruise control, and have begun passively worshiping a God who’s worthy of so much more.
Sure, you might stop at the rest stop once or twice a week to throw up a prayer, or fill up at the gas station on Sunday in hopes that it gets you through the week; but when it comes to truly deepening our relationship and worshipping and committing our lives to God, we know we have to add Him to our calendar. We have to schedule it. But if we are completely honest, sometimes it feels like it’s just something else to do in our “crazy busy” lives.
I completely understand falling into this routine of passively worshipping God. I’ve been there. I’ve lived it.
For quite a few years, I managed a retail store. Those of you in retail, I feel your pain. Here’s what my day would look like. I would wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for work, work almost all day, come home, eat dinner, go to band practice, come home, and go to bed.
Oh man, was I was such a rebel! You may be thinking to yourself, “What is this guy griping about? His life didn’t sound too bad.”
Here’s the issue: I lived in a routine of utter cruise control. I found myself slowly veering away from God. You know that feeling when you're driving for a long time and you start getting in to this lull, and before you know it you’re driving over those loud rumble strips on the shoulder? That’s how I felt spiritually.
I truly believe this lifestyle is one of the most dangerous, crafty tools that Satan uses. Why? Because you feel comfortable. You feel like nothing is really wrong. You compare yourself to your coworkers and think, “Well, I don’t cuss like they do, and I don’t party and get drunk on the weekends and I’m involved in church on Sunday, so I’m doing pretty good.”
But second by second, day by day you begin to turn away and your fellowship with God is hindered. Then one day you will wake up and realize, “Am I really any different than my non-Christian coworker?”
What you do at work is the same as them. What you do at home is the same as them. What you spend your money and free time on are the same as them.
ARE you any different?
Christ has called us to pick up our cross and follow Him.
I, personally am not asking you to be different than the world. I think you should be, but they aren't my words... they are from Jesus. The one who saved you and made you new has called you to be different.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lo se it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Matthew 16:24-26
You were never meant to live a redundant life.
You were meant to live an abundant life.
Satan is out for your redundancy. Jesus is out for your abundancy. Don’t believe me?
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Satan knows that if he can get you to live in a mundane, purposeless life, he can slowly steal your marriage, kill your relationships, and destroy your life.
So how can you redeem your time? How can you actively worship in this crazy busyness we call life? When I finally came to this realization that I really wasn’t all that different from my non-Christian coworkers, I first repented and asked for forgiveness, then asked God to change my heart for more of a desire toward Him.
Because to be completely honest with you, I could find short term contentment in my career or in my hobbies. But at the end of the day, when the business stopped, when the hobby was done, I was never satisfied. So not only did I need to repent, I needed Him to change me.
From that position on, I did several things to help redeem my time and to turn my attention towards actively worshipping God. Maybe they will help you as well.
I listened to Christian podcasts, sermons and Christian music on the way in to work.
Regardless of your commute, there are so many resources out there for you to take advantage of. There are podcasts out there to help encourage you in your spiritual life. There is also great Christian music available for you to listen to while you are driving or working, whether it's the radio, or even the songs we sing on Sundays. I leave my station on Christian radio, just in case i’m driving for 5 minutes and don’t want to go through all the work of putting on a podcast. It might be the same songs I’ve heard a billion times, but what radio station isn’t like that? It’s encouraging, It’s uplifting…
I read my Bible.
Woah, what a “churchy” answer! Even though it is so incredibly cliché, I would spend time in the Word and be personally renewed and refreshed. Generally, the Mac store was a ghost town for the first few hours of business, so I would read my Bible then or play Christian music in the back while I worked. I realize some people are busy from the start of the day til the end, so I would encourage you to get a Bible on your phone and read it during your lunch break.
I started to view work as a mission field.
Instead of just punching a clock, pray for your coworkers and your superiors. More than likely, you are with them more than anyone else is, maybe even their own family. Why get so bitter at the people we are spending so much of our life with? Instead of just throwing away time with them, pray for opportunities to share your faith with them. Get them to try church again. Be an example of good work ethic to them. BE HAPPY and love them until they ask you why.
It’s not a perfect science. I know sometimes it can be awkward, but if you are praying for the opportunity, the Holy Spirit will intervene and the timing will be perfect. Sometimes we will fail at it, but I encourage you, as you do the routines of your day, think about actively worshipping God.
Do you feel like you are living on cruise control? What advice would you give to a Christian who feels they are living a mundane lifestyle? Share in the comments below 👇🏼