In the area where I grew up, there is a isolated back road that serves as an alternate, straight-line route connecting two counties. I would take this road daily when I was a day commuter at one of the local colleges. At one point along this route, there is a series of rolling hills that climb over a high ridge. The road rises to the crest of the ridge before taking a steep plunge from the highest point called King Hill into a long stretch of bottomland.
In the past, my brother and I had debated often about how far a vehicle would coast from the top of that particular hill. So one afternoon, when traffic was almost nonexistent, I stopped at the beginning of the slope at the summit of King Hill, put my car in neutral and began to coast. At first, the speed was the same as though the accelerator was pressed, but as I traveled farther, my speed waned. Some time and a surprising distance later, I rolled to a stop at the base of a slight upward slope in the otherwise-flat road. Coasting would not carry me home.
Coasting can not carry us through life either.
We often depend upon past momentum to bring us to our destination, but we come up short. We think past victories will ensure future victories, but they fail. We want to coast spiritually and expect our devotion and discipline in the past to bear us through. We try to live from one spiritual high to the next, not realizing that God works in our valleys and in our day-to-day travels through the flatlands. Invariably, we will come to a halt when we attempt to coast.
The Bible records a sobering story of the danger of “coasting” in the life of King David…
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful (2 Samuel 11:1-2).
When all the kings would go out and fight for their countries, David remained in his palace. The Bible does not tell us why he chose to remain, only that this was not the place where he should have been as a leader. This put him in the position not only to be tempted, but to act upon that temptation with no accountability. David begins a downward spiral that draws in and damages his family, other families and the entire kingdom. Spiritual coasting leads to sinful sliding.
Where might you be coasting spiritually? Are you relying on past momentum to carry you through, or are you being empowered daily by God’s Word and Spirit? Is it time to make some changes?
We will make every effort, with all that is within us, to love God fully. – Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
We will press forward and live by the power of God. – 1Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
We will flee sin and passionately pursue righteousness. – 2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.