by Pastor Tim Burt
Yesterday, I began to talk to you about the feeling of getting into a rut! I hope it spoke to your heart. It did to mine! We have a tri-window in our bedroom with a window shade on each pane. One of the shades has been broken for months. It has bugged me every day. Yesterday, my writing convicted me! I finally took it down so my wife could go replace it! Oh that feels good! That rut's been broken!
Yesterday I said that one key to getting out of a rut was by establishing a special consistent time of communing with God—the place where you are strengthened and empowered to do so. It’s where you receive the direction and draw the strength to make the changes to get out of your rut. When you do this you will discover or re-discover the amazing benefit and blessing of that intimate time with God and His Word! How did David feel about his communing time with God? King David put it like this: “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in His Temple…” (Psalm 27:4 NLT)
Not all repetition is bad. There are healthy repetitions or routines in our life that ARE NOT part of the rut. I said yesterday that repetition is bad when I am repeating things that are not priority or beneficial, and I am not doing what should be a priority. When I have that kind of repetition going on, then I know I’m in a rut. So how to I change that?
What most people do is identify what they know is evil, bad, or not beneficial to their life. When they do, they usually make a spontaneous decision out of frustration to abruptly end eliminate it from their life. You'll hear someone say, I’m eating too many sweets. I’m going to stop eating sugar. Or, I keep being seduced into looking at sexual materials and media. I’m never going to look at another magazine again. Or, That's it, I am done watching television! I understand that mentality. This person is saying, I am in a rut. I can't seem to get a handle on this part of my life so I am ridding myself of it all together. The desire and intent may be good but few people follow through in executing these desperate declarations.
Jesus gave us some insight in how to get victory. First of all, when you feel powerless or defeated in stopping something that you know isn't good and is contrary to God’s will for you, it’s called a stronghold. That's worse than a rut. It means you need God's power to break out of it! Jesus gave us power and authority over strongholds. We are to rebuke and resist them in Jesus name from our life. We can chase them out in His name if we stick with it. But then we need to learn something about how evil strongholds work. Matthew 12:43-45 reveals, "When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and clean. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation."
You don’t have evil spirits in you but they are real and do work to come against you and present temptation to you. When you've continually yielded to them, they've won and become a habit, more than a rut. They've become come a stronghold in your life. When we try to eliminate strongholds or bad things from our life but we haven’t replaced them with something good, we may stop them for a short while, but they arrive back on the scene and bring other bad friends—more bad habits and strongholds. So, the best way to break these strongholds is two-fold. First begin to pray and ask God to give you godly desires. He will! Psalms 37:4 (NIV) says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." God will give you the kinds of desires that will become a part of your life and bless you if you continually ask Him.
Add prayer and introduce and fill your life with good desires, and you will end up squeezing out and replacing the strongholds that kept you in a rut. Are you watching television too late and it steals three good things from your life like Bible reading, sleep, and prayer? Instead of saying, I am done watching television, limit television to one hour and make what you watch something decent! Then execute a plan to get ready for bed and plan to read your Bible for a certain amount of time. Squeeze the good in and cast the bad out. When temptation comes against it, take your authority in the name of Jesus out loud and rebuke it.
Whatever rut you are in, change it by squeezing in good before you try to get rid of the bad. Here is the mentality to have: if it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine, then it can be the little good changes squeezed in that begin to bring new life to the vine. Consistently squeeze in the good as you reject the bad and you will have cleaned your house of ruts and strongholds and left no room for the bad to come back and abide. More tomorrow…
Song of Solomon 2:15 “…the little foxes, that spoil the vines…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt