Like you, I have been home more in the last 3 days than I would typically be–all thanks to the thick blanket of snow and ice that has covered our land and rendered us homebound. That is, of course unless you have a 4-wheel drive or at least nerves of steel for driving on ice. I have the latter, but not the former.
I’m the proud owner of a 1992 Crown Victoria; a retired police car actually. It’s got a huge V8 engine in it that just roars at the tap on the gas pedal. It’s a beast and boy does it move! (Not that I would know.) So, once I got my driveway shoveled out and had a clear path from my parking spot to the street I live on, I ventured out.
I made out from my driveway onto my street okay even though my street hadn’t been touched by plows, and even drove myself to the corner where my road meets the nearest “secondary” road that had been plowed and cleared. But my problem started the moment I stopped at the stop sign. And if I may, I’d like to connect the dots on a spiritual truth here. The trouble USUALLY starts the moment we stop. When we stop in our sense of awe of God. When we stop connecting with God in worship with others, when we stop talking with God about the daily stuff of life, when we stop turning to Him for comfort, guidance, wisdom, strength, and peace; when we stop our interaction with God, and when we stop being thankful…that’s when trouble starts.
So there I was at the stop sign. Looked left–clear. Looked right–clear. Looked left again–still clear. I began to press on the gas pedal and I outside my window I heard a faint “zzzzZZZZZZ”. Oh no. The incline at the end of my road leading to the main road was just enough to get my car stuck in one stop–wheels spinning: zzzzZZZZZZZZzzzz. There I was with one of the most powerful engines on the road…going nowhere.
I had lost traction.
And not only that, now there was a truck behind me. I watched his eyes get really big when I put my Crown Vic in reverse and started heading his direction. I turned the wheel and went around him, continuing to back up the street. I thought to myself, “I just need a bit of a running start and I’ll be fine.” So I got half a block away from the corner and put it back into drive. With extreme caution and care, I made it through the corner and onto the main road with very little slipping that time. And off I went to work.
Traction is a powerful thing. You can have a V8 engine under your hood, but unless you’ve got traction, you’re going nowhere fast.
How can you find traction as a teen today? How can you make sure that your spirit is making contact with the path that God has designed for you to travel on? It might be in a way that you’re not expecting! Take a look at today’s verses:
Colossians 1:11-12 “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.”
The key to traction in your spiritual life is not effort, not trying harder, not knowing more, not giving more, and not believing more. It begins with the attitude of thankfulness to God for who He is, what He has done, and what He means to you. Just like everything God does flows from His love, everything we do flows from our sense of thankfulness. Think about it. If you aren’t thankful for something, you won’t care for it. If you aren’t thankful for a relationship in your life, you won’t invest in it and nurture it. It just makes sense.
So, read again those two verses in Colossians. And notice all that comes from “always thanking the Father”: power, endurance, patience, strength, and joy. In other words: traction. It all hinges on how thankful you are to God for who He is and what He has done for you.
If you’d like to comment on today’s reading, I’d like to hear your “thankful” list: What is it about God that you are most thankful for? Share that in the comments section below!