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Making Room for God and His Church 4 – Coasting

Making Room for God and His Church Day 4: Coasting

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27, ESV)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17, ESV)

The twenty-fourth year of our marriage looked a little different than some of the previous years—not necessarily worse, just busy and distracted. So many things were pressing in on our lives and our focus shifted. One of the first areas in which we felt the impact was our marriage. In essence, coasting is a good word for what we were doing. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, and it likely won’t be the last, either. 

Life was busy with the business, my husband’s full-time career, older teenagers, and caring for Papa in our home. The problem with coasting is that we often lose sight of our direction and can easily find ourselves off course. That’s what happened to us. Looking back now, it’s easy to see that we failed to make the proper connection to each another during the pressures of life, and the cost was significant! 

Coasting led down a slippery path to an affair and two years of off-and-on and ups and downs. Praise God that He had the mercy and grace to restore us to one another and lay a new path before us—one where we daily seek to be intentional with our marriage. Being intentional is the opposite of coasting, and when we think of our relationship with Christ, we can see how damaging it can be to coast.

What does spiritual coasting look like? How might it be demonstrated in our own lives? If you were to bluntly ask others in your church family if they feel that you are intentional or just going through the motions regarding your contribution, they likely can discern the true state of your heart and would answer accordingly. Occasionally, we are able to secretly coast for a short time, but eventually it becomes obvious to those you worship with. A coaster will not bring fresh thoughts or contributions to the table and will not develop spiritually. It’s a place of stagnation.

Just as doing the bare minimum at your place of employment or in serving your family won’t bring much benefit to those you work or live with, the same is true inside the church. Promotions will go to someone else. Others will have to step in and cover for your lack. Your spouse or your kids will feel neglected. You are operating, but without any passion or zeal and not providing what is needed. This, of course, indicates that you’re missing the big picture. 

Someone who is on fire for the Lord and is a big help to their local church is a refreshment to those around them. You feel inspired and encouraged just by watching them. Often it’s these individuals that spark a fuse in others and help them plug in to the work at hand with their own unique gifts. But even the most dynamic member of your local church will experience seasons of weariness when their vigor isn’t what it usually is. We are all prone to days or sometimes longer periods when we feel like we are on autopilot. If you’re spiritually aware, you’ll soon feel the promptings of the Spirit calling you back to the purpose He has for you.

It’s a great habit to have meetings between yourself and God regularly. These don’t necessarily have to fall into your usual prayer routine, but they certainly can. The purpose of these meetings is for some introspection. What am I currently doing to serve God? How am I contributing to the needs of those in my church family? Am I willing to take responsibility and help lighten the load of others who must fill in for my lack? Then ask God to show you what He wants from you and convict you in areas that need change. When we ask these questions of God, we can expect to be shown answers.

Life is short for even the longest living human. It’s certainly too short to coast spiritually. When we stand before our Father in Heaven, we will never feel regret for doing too much, but we will certainly feel regret for a lackluster life of service to Him. He longs for us to live lives of purpose, but we must be willing to be used by Him. We must also be intentional in our pursuit of Him and learn to develop the gifts He’s given us. If you’re in a season of coasting, the first step is to acknowledge you’re there; then be willing to jump in and be obedient to His calling on your life. Anything less will lead to an eternity of regret—what a loss!

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