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Youth Supplement – Stuck in the mud

March 2008 | by Jonathan Campbell

YOUTH SUPPLEMENT

Stuck in the mud

Often in our Christian lives we seem to be walking through a bog: a bog made of all the relationships, activities and commodities that constantly jostle for the top slot in our lives. That slot, of course, should be God’s, and God’s alone. But we’re struggling to move forward because the weight of so much ‘stuff’ is rooting us to the ground. We are stuck in the mud.

Finding Nemo

It was a real struggle last Christmas, when a wave of ‘stuff’ was pushed my way – computer games in particular. They threatened to take over my life when we should all have been remembering Christ’s birth.

It reminded me of that great spiritual epic, Finding Nemo, where, when down in the depths of the abyss, Marlin and Dory spot a beautiful light. They are drawn closer and closer, thinking it is the end to all their worries – until they realise it’s just the beginning. The light was the lure on a ravenous angler fish!

That’s what Satan tries with us. Something that is harmless in small doses, like computer games or television, can easily grow till it leads you off the path and into the darkness. It is only when you are well and truly stuck that you realise it’s Satan holding the lure!

Reality check

Psalm 84 says: ‘Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere … For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.’

Thatshould be our attitude, because that is the true perspective. When you think about the description of God in that psalm, as a sun and a shield, it really does demand a reality check.

It’s as if we are walking and talking with Christ – the creator of heaven and earth, the one whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze – when suddenly we pass a dark doorway. Inside a dingy room is a brand new Nintendo Wii, or some other games console.

We look from Christ to the Wii and back to Christ – and promptly leave his side and rush to the controller! Incredible? No, this is what happens in real life! We have the privilege, through what Jesus did on the cross, to walk with God. Yet we exchange all that for the most insignificant things!

Saved from sinking

Is there anything we can do, if the weight of worldly distractions is dragging us deep into the mud? Yes there is. In Matthew 14:30, Peter is walking on water. But, after taking his eyes off Jesus, he begins to sink: ‘when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him’.

When we are sinking in spiritual ‘mud’ there is one thing we can do – cry out to Jesus. He has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5). And he has a fast reaction time – ‘immediately’ means just that. God loves his children and nothing can separate you from him. Not even a Wii.