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Keeping in Step with God’s Purposes

Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter lives in Heath with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits Christian faith articles for several publications. Read more of her essays at BlueRibbonNews.com.

(ROCKWALL, TX — October 30, 2017) She leaps and she spins. And the rest of us try to keep up with her.

I was somewhat petrified before meeting Raina. Not scared stiff—just stiff. Now, a decade later, I’m thankful for the years of attending her cardio-exercise classes at a local gym. Her dance routines, which incorporate everything from jazz to the Macarena (or Maca-Raina, as we say), have made me stronger and more flexible.

But the time will surely come when I won’t have Raina in front of me anymore. Will I find someone else who will encourage me to keep moving? Or will I think I’m fine on my own and gradually go stiff again?

A troubling pattern is recorded in the history of several kings of Judah who pleased God only as long as the temple priest instructed them. When the priest died, these kings began to make unwise and sometimes evil choices as they tried to rule without accountability. Did they consider themselves too wise to fail or too powerful to fall?

Joash was one of those kings. His 40-year reign blessed the people of Judah while he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest.” But after Joash began listening to less God-fearing people, he abandoned the temple and the worship of God. When the Lord sent someone to warn him of the consequences, Joash was too stiff-necked to repent. In the end, he was not even buried in the tombs of the kings.1

The Apostle Paul explained to the churches that the mistakes made by the forefathers of our faith were written down as warnings for us, adding, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”2

Spiritual stiffness doesn’t set in overnight, but it does set in.

Paul wrote that each believer is a part of the body of Christ, the church. And while God supplies members with a variety of gifts and abilities,3 he entrusts pastors and teachers to oversee and encourage others “by sound doctrine.”4

The Apostle John described the healthy effect of our participation: “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”5

Do we sometimes view church involvement as a dutiful habit—like going to the gym? Instead, we can be thankful for the opportunity to surround ourselves with people of faith in the midst of a world that often rejects God’s ways and purposes. Membership in the body of Christ necessitates a commitment, but it strengthens our souls.

From the New International Version of the Bible: 12 Chronicles 24:2, 17 – 25; 21 Corinthians 10:11 – 12; 31 Corinthians 12:27 – 28; 4Titus 1:7, 9; 51 John 1:7.

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter of Heath.

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