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STAYING ON THE TRACKS



By Pastor Nat Crawford


Is a train freed or restricted by its train tracks?

If you’re thinking, “restricted”, consider this: What happens when a train goes off its tracks?


It becomes derailed, stuck, and rendered useless to accomplish its purpose. However, when a train stays on its tracks it is free to go wherever the tracks lead.


So it is for the Christian today. When we stay on the tracks of our faith, we are truly free in Christ. But when we go off the tracks God has laid, we become stuck and useless.


The apostle Paul wrote, “ ’All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up” (1 Corinthians 10:23).


If I were writing to the Corinthian church today, I would say, “Are you free to do anything? Sure. You can do anything. But should you? What’s the ROI (the return on investment)? Does it bring you closer to Jesus or further away? Does it bring glory to God or not?”


As Christians, we are free. Paul wrote to the Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3-4).


Through Christ we are free from guilt. We are free from sin. We are free from the debt of our transgressions. But, that freedom comes with great responsibility. That freedom should not lend itself license to sin because this “derails the train”. Sure, we can sin as Christians. But why on earth would we want to?


It would be like being a prisoner in a cell. Imagine, for years you’ve been chained to the wall, hopelessly miserable, cold, and hungry. But while sleeping, Arnold Schwarzenegger breaks down the door, unlocks your shackles, and says, “Come with me if you want to live.”


It’s the rescue you’ve been dreaming of, so you get up and run out the door. But suddenly, you stop, turn around, and sit back down in the cell, imprisoning yourself once again! It sounds crazy, but that’s what living a life of sin when professing Christ is like. It is a life derailed!


Can you survive a derailment? Sure, but Paul said this shouldn’t be the norm. He wrote to the Galatian church, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:1, 13).


The goal of every Christian is to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18). This includes obeying the Lord because those who love Him will obey His commands (John 14:15). This is living life on the tracks. This is true freedom in Christ. Today, don’t abuse your freedom. Don’t go back to your cell of sin to be spiritually stuck and derailed. Instead, use your freedom in Christ to grow in the grace of God. Tell others about the freedom their souls long for. Live life on the tracks because that is the abundant life and this is true Christian freedom! Join me in living it!


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