In his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll tells of two young women from Southern California who spent the day doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Tijuana. After a successful day of bargain hunting, they returned to their car. One of the ladies glanced down in the gutter and noticed something squirming, as if in pain. On closer examination, they saw what appeared to be a dog – a tiny Chihuahua – struggling for its life. It was breathing heavily, shivering, and barely able to move. Their hearts went out to the pathetic little animal. Their compassion wouldn’t let them drive off and leave it there to die.
The friends decided to take it home with them and do their best to nurse it back to health. Afraid of being stopped and having the little creature detected by border patrol officers, they carefully placed it on some papers among their packages in the trunk of their car. Within minutes they were back in California and only a couple of hours from home. One of the women held the sick little Chihuahua the rest of the way.
As they arrived in front of one of their homes, they decided she would be the one to keep the little orphan through the night and do everything she could to help it regain strength. She tried feeding it some of her food, but it wouldn’t eat. She patted it, talked to it, cuddled it, and finally wrapped it in a small blanket and placed it beneath the covers on her bed to sleep beside her all through the night. She kept feeling it to make sure it was okay.
Nothing worked. By early the next morning she could see it was not doing well at all. Before dawn she decided to take it to an emergency animal clinic nearby. Handing the weakened animal to the doctor on duty, she began to describe all the things she had done to help the tiny creature.
He quickly interrupted her and asked, “Where did you get this animal?”
For fear of being reprimanded for bringing an animal across the border, she told him that she was keeping it for a friend who had found it.
“I’m not letting you leave,” he insisted sternly, “until you tell me where you got this thing.”
She said, “We were shopping in Tijuana and found this little Chihuahua in the gutter near our car. Our hearts went out to it when”
“This is no Chihuahua, lady. What you brought home with you is a rabid Mexican river rat!”
I doubt if you’ve been cuddling any rats lately. (I’m pausing here while some of you get that wicked thought out of your minds.) But the power of that experience wasn’t just the physical danger the ladies placed themselves in. They were in danger because even in their compassion, they’d been deceived. Good intentions are no substitute for truth.
Maybe I should repeat that. Good intentions are no substitute for truth.
In spite of our sincerity or our good intentions, many Christians doze off with their arms around a lie – lies that contain words like:
I can fix it…
It’s not really that big a problem…
I just need to try harder, or…
This year my resolution is…
Weeks or months later, they find themselves stuck in the same ruts, fighting the same battles, replaying the same old reels… and wondering why.
If you’re ready for a real, lasting breakthrough, or if you’re tired of being stuck in the same old ruts, maybe it’s time to confront your good intentions with a refreshing splash of truth – even if it’s a little stunning at first. Maybe you’ll discover that some of those old thought and belief companions you’ve nurtured over the years are really rats in disguise.
More importantly, you can discover that your relationship with Jesus offers far more than fire insurance or a spiritual shopping spree. You have the basis to truly live abundantly and experience that lasting change you’ve been longing for.
Wanna try a prayer dare? Try this:
Lord Jesus, I open my heart to You. Please search my false beliefs and challenge my assumptions. Expose my sacred cows and confront my dead traditions. Please shine Your light on the places where I may be sincere – but sincerely wrong. And show me what it means to walk in the glory of your Truth.
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