When you’re in the manufacturing industry, you have to make sure that the rules of the business are strictly adhered to. At the factory where I worked, for example, there was a waiting period of five days for manufacturing. If you order today, Sir/Madam, the product will be ready in five days. Then the line runs well and all you hear is a soft drone back in the factory.
But time and again a client phones, very nervous. He had forgotten to order and if we can’t deliver tomorrow or the next day, the builders won’t have anything to do and his boss will go for him. Please, please help. And because we feel sorry for him, we put his order first in line. Ag, one small order like that won’t actually influence the other clients’ deliveries, or does it?
Tomorrow another client phones with the same request and we help him as well. Before long all these clients that we help so readily keep “forgetting” to order, but they aren’t worried, because they know we’ll help them out. Now the ripple has become a wave and the results are catastrophic: the factory is working under pressure all the time. Orders aren’t completed in time, maintenance of equipment is postoned and cancelled. And you can mention many such examples.
Was this forseen when we helped the first guy? No, certainly not, but slowly we taught our clients and ourselves a culture that affected the factory’s optimum running. Slowly, without us realising it, without us meaning to, we allowed ourselves to break our own rules and step by step chaos crept in.
So it goes in all parts of our lives. If we allow our rules to be bent piece by piece, soon we’ll realise not much is left over of our original way of life. This is also true in our spiritual life, because we allow small things to creep into our lives, small things that aren’t so bad at first, grey things, and the ripple effect isn’t really that bad. But before we know it, these ripples become waves and we are knocked off the road. This also goes for things we know we should be doing, but slipped up doing and yes, there might even have been a good reason. However, it was so easy to skip that little piece of responsibility that the next time it just happened easier and before I know it, I fall asleep on the couch and do not even smell the coffee.
Maybe Peter is standing before you with a stop sign today: Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. “These qualities” refer to the preceding prayer in which Peter showed us that we have to do the right things, know God, have self-control, stand firmly in our faith, glorify God’s Name, and serve and help other people.
These are the rules for being a Christian. These are the minimum standards if you wan to be a child of God. If we allow ourselves to drop just one standard a little bit, we allow our vision of Christ to dim a little. The relationship that I have with Jesus, weakens a little bit. Before I know it, like with a factory’s manufacturing line, I unconsciously allowed non-compliance with my minimum standards and soon everything is way off track. Then comes the question: “Where is God?” stopping me in my tracks at a crossroad in my spiritual life.
Just come to a standstill at Peter’s stop sign for a while, here at the crossroads, and make sure that you are not becoming blind to the small things that you are allowing into your life more and more. It can push you off the road. Find out whether there are things that you did in the past with a lot of joy that are now no longer so visible in your spiritual life. Take the frogs out of the pipe. Clean up. Start again. Open your eyes and live according to the minimum standards again. This is God’s will for you today.
Where have you started being blind to God’s will?
What do you think are God’s minimum standards for you?
What are you going to do about it?