We are a stubborn lot. Let’s not fool ourselves with grandiose visions of our spiritual selves. We are a notoriously stubborn bunch of people, especially as it concerns matters of faith. Very, very few of us will break from the early patterns we set - or that were set for us - in our spiritual journey. Why do you suppose that is? Why do you suppose we think we have arrived, when in actuality God only extended to us an invitation to begin a life-long journey? We are invited, by God, to join him in a journey that only begins when we humble ourselves and say, “Yes!” The journey begins when we say yes to God! We are all invited to this “Yes!” I wonder, however, why and how so many of us confuse or mistake the invitation for the party?
The invitation is not the party!
The front door is not the house!
The garden’s gate is not the garden!
But so many of us seem to think so, or at least we live like this is reality. Once we get started we freeze! We stay put, like children hiding in a closet afraid of what’s going on outside. We stop moving and stubbornly rationalize our non-movement by living like the invitation is the party. That’s not what this journey is about! That’s not what Christ set us free to do! That’s not what church is about! That’s not what life and real living is about! Yet, so, so many of us blissfully languish there, stuck at the starting gate of this race that is life and living, and never ever move. Why?
To make matters worse, so many of us willfully stay there in spite of all of God’s attempts to get us to move! We willfully - willfully - stay put in spite of all of God’s attempts to get us to move. That is the epitome of stubbornness. We are a stubborn lot. And this stubbornness is no more obvious then in our spiritual lives and spiritual growth.
We accept God’s invitation but we never join the party …
We find the front door but never enter the house …
We arrive at the garden’s gate but never move beyond it to the garden …
The Christian life is all about the invitation, the front door, and the garden’s gate … but it’s also all about the party, the house, and the color splashed garden! And we not only err horribly by stopping before we begin, but we are also left standing there at the very outskirts of God’s Kingdom. We willfully choose to stand there because we stubbornly hang onto what makes us feel safe and secure. So, stubbornly, we stand and the journey ends before it ever really begins.