Stuck in a holding pattern, circling over and over, day after day; exhausted he was by the mere daily grind. He hoped to stop, yet to do so, risked the chance of being devoured. Instead, he kept the pace, circling the same pathway until a rut ensued on his route. Though he doesn’t seem to stand out in recognition like our former long-eared counterpart from last week, he is well known in his circle of influence—that being the racetrack.
This furry fake has the canines follow his steps with ferocity, hoping to catch him before the finish line. Perhaps it is because his nickname is “lure”. This mechanical hare lures the pups to keep an unrealistic pace, even though all-the-knowing they will always be one step away, and never close enough to catch him.
Could there be lures in our lives, which cause us to center our attention to what is just out of our reach, circling over and over, hoping to attain the next attainable, yet when we arrive, realizing we are unfulfilled? And exhausted. Because what we thought we wanted didn’t satisfy the longing just around the next bend.
And we enter the rut. Similar to a hamster wheel, yet subtly different. I believe it is because our desires are off center, and we’ve confused abundance with the abundant life God speaks of, and are lost in the desires of a world, which promises to deliver, yet fails to satisfy.
How do we run the race without being influenced by the indulgences of the world?
The key is to remove idolatry from without, before it filters into our identities within.
Gideon encountered such obstacles at the forefront of his journey:
- Judges 6:25-26 – That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.”
Gideon tore down alters of false gods and provided an offering to the Lord.
Okay, you may wonder, how on earth do we apply this type of ritual to our modern day lives, where altars and false deities and sacrificial offerings are not the norm in the everyday landscape of our todays?
Well, we first align ourselves with God by tearing down anything that alters our love and devotion to Him. For them, this altar was a tangible item, which caused them to focus their affections away from their intangible God.
For us, it may be tangible, or intangible. An important question we can ask is:
What or who consumes the majority of my time, focus, and affection in my heart?
After we’ve discovered the culprit of our desire, then we need to destroy its repercussions through repentance. The most basic meaning of repentance is to cry out to God in forgiveness, and shift focus toward Him, and away from the former first love.
Next, offer ourselves fully to God.
Romans 12:1-2 in The Message says it so simply:
- So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Simple, but not always easy. But, remember, with God on our side nothing is impossible, and the results of such intimacy are far beyond what we could ever desire or imagine.
Because, if we are not careful, we may end up like another rabbit I’ve happened upon on the rabbit trail of life…
He had all the ability in the world–keen eyes and ears and an especially lean stride. Yet, he suffered from a condition called, complacency-induced apathy. His surroundings lulled him into a false sense of comfort. Before long, the quiet scenery lured him to the sidelines and his sight went dim to slumber. He didn’t see his proponent pass him by–A tortoise whose odds were against him from the start. Yet, the turtle’s determination and focus persevered.
You see, the tortoise had his focus on his One True Love, standing on the other side of the finish line, cheering him all the way to the end.
Lord, reveal to us the error of our wayward hearts. Help us be aware of the enemy’s tactics, and our own desires. Align our course with your destiny for our lives. Protect us from being derailed by this world and its desires, and instead desire you above all else.