Going Off the Rails
For God is not a God whose ways are without order, but a God of peace; as in all the churches of the saints.
“Off the rails.” I don’t know how many times I’ve voiced this phrasing in recent weeks, let alone this year. But apparently it’s my new favorite saying.
Whether I’ve been referring to the media fire storm surrounding the explosive Trayvon Martin case with defendant George Zimmerman, who seems to have already been considered guilty until proven innocent by the court of public opinion . . .
Or the ongoing U.S. Secret Service scandal in which eleven S.S. members had to be sent home for heaving drinking and consorting with prostitutes during President Barack Obama’s spring trip to South America . . .
Or even in the church and an incident occurring earlier this year where a gimmick-prone prominent pastor/televangelist stayed in a bed with his wife on his church’s rooftop in order to “encourage” Christian couples to have “healthy sex lives” . . .
Whether I’ve been referring to any of these things, I have become well acquainted with assessing a troublesome situation, thinking that “right” has now changed places with “wrong” and seeing that someone or something has gone way “off the rails.”
Granted, our world has been “off the rails” since Adam and Eve went their own way in the Genesis 2 a long time ago. But these days, it seems to be happening more and more and it is sobering to see the world around us so quickly imploding.
As believers, we know that when we abandon the order of Scripture, we embrace the chaos of life. And nothing good ever comes from that. Just think back to times in your life when you were walking in a manner that could not be backed by Scripture.
Now that’s really every day for all of us—especially if we’re in touch with our depravity and our desperate need for a Savior.
But I am also reminded of a specific time period in my life that most vividly displays when I have been “off the rails.” And no good came out of that . . . at least at the time it didn’t. But years later, the Lord used what I thought were poor life choices as building blocks to bring me back closer to him. I learned that my chaos lead to confusion and destruction, while pursuing order leads to life and growth.
Perhaps the latter is why so much time is devoted to the “order” of the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem. I’ve wondered about that as I’ve been studying in 2 Chronicles 1 recently. Why did God include so much detail for us to read? What is he trying to show us by communicating the requirements for measurements, building materials, layout and personnel? And why did it take so long to complete?
But stepping back . . . isn’t this what is required of all Christ followers who are temples of the living God? Who must build our lives according to the instructions we see laid out for us in God’s Word? And shouldn’t we take on a project like “building a temple” with as much dedication and focus and enthusiasm and order as Solomon did in the Old Testament?
Even though the world is going “off the rails,” that doesn’t mean that you or I have to follow suit. A life lived in faithfulness and obedience to Scripture, a life with steps ordered by God through the power of Holy Spirit, a life built on the promises of God’s Word will not be sidetracked and will glorify God.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Many of the furnishings and the walls in Solomon’s temple were overlaid with gold. What in your life shimmers like this precious metal so that others can see God’s work reflected in you?