Friday, October 5, 2018

A shiny lure

One of the neighbors recently blessed my grandsons with a huge tackle box and several smaller ones filled to the brim with all manner of fishing tackle. The lures in there were worth hundreds, some not even used yet, beautiful and shiny. The boys were overjoyed with such a treasure. As my neighbor is getting ready to move, he didn't think he'd need these any longer, so he wanted to bless the boys with them since they have many more years to enjoy their use. As you can well imagine, the fisherman with this much tackle must have had some rods and reels to go with it. He also blessed them with those! It was a double-day of blessing. The rod and reel alone is not much good without the tackle and vice versa. You need both to get the job done! There are times we try to get the job done with one thing in our life, but not another - we want the benefits of Christ without the commitment (the work). We want the blessing, but we don't want the one doing the blessing. We want the privileges without the responsibility. Unfortunately, the 'job' of salvation doesn't get done without both parts - grace and faith!

There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. Don’t be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them. (Hebrews 13:8-9 MSG)

God doesn't change - it is our attitude toward him that does. He doesn't manipulate his appearance or 'performance' - we just see him differently from time to time because of our attitude. How we think determines a lot about our attitude. How we behave is motivated by what we believe and what we trust in at the moment. Believe in the lure and the line and you will fish for hours. Give up on either and you will likely go hungry! We all get lured away from time to time - it is part of our 'attention deficit disorder' as Christians. We find it hard to be consistent ALL of the time - because this right-living thing gets exhausting on occasion. Our attitude takes constant focus - it drives us to respond in ways we would otherwise be less likely to if not motivated by its influence. 

Keeping the right attitude helps us in more ways that one might imagine. There are times when I just need to ask God for an attitude-check. I need him to help me make adjustments were they need to be made. Why? My attitude has a tendency to be influenced by circumstances, other people, what I hear, and whatever acts as the shiniest lure in my life at the moment. I daresay I am not alone in this tendency to get lured away into things that begin to eat away at my attitude of trust and faith little by little. In fact, there are probably hundreds of us right now thinking on things we would be better not considering, or listening to some enticing scheme of the enemy of our souls that we should be listening to in the first place. This battle is real - we are lured away and into things that shouldn't have any pull on us, but the pull is stronger than our natural ability to resist.

Thank goodness for God's grace and his protection. He isn't about to let us wallow in the wrong attitude for too long because he knows it will begin to affect all our choices and actions - not in a good way, either. So, he brings this little 'grace-gift' called conviction. Would you think of conviction as a gift? If you have never considered it as one, think again! Grace brings conviction - in love, God points out where our attitude is being lured and where our trust is being misaligned. The moment we realize God's grace in conviction, there is release. We no longer are captured by the lure - we are free again. The thing about sin is that it takes both the lure and the line - one to entice us, the other to reel us in! Grace does more than cut the line - it unhooks us from the lure!

In God's goodness, the convicting moments actually bring about an adjustment in our attitude - an ability to see the lure as something we don't want to move toward again. If pursued again, we'd end up under its control and moving into places again best left unexplored. God doesn't change - his grace isn't a one-time deal. His love isn't a fleeting fancy. He will repeatedly bring conviction until we begin to stop pursuing the lure that is affecting our attitude so greatly. When he does, don't look at his grace as a thing to be taken lightly - it is a display of his tremendous love to pursue us even when our attitude has wondered into territory best described as 'foul'. Just sayin!