Getting out of the rat race
Have you ever felt that life is like a rat race? Everyone is in a hurry to nowhere fast? Increase of tension and anxiety, troubled about the things of life that use to never bother you in times past, and feel like things around you are moving at a breakneck speed? If you have, you are not alone, many in society today are feeling like this. For those of us that are in our forties and older, we can remember a time when life use to move at a much slower pace, when people had time for others, when rudeness was not the norm rather an oddity, when people were considered people and not just a number.
A short time ago I was listening to a woman from our church tell of her recent trip back east to the small country town that she had grown up in. She described her time as one of actually having to work at slowing down the pace of life that she has grown accustomed to here in southern California. This included of course her driving habits, talking and listening to people, as well as many other aspects of life that we donít give a second thought to.
As I consider the current pace of life that the world tells us we should be living at, I canít help but wonder what the Bible; the Word of God has to say about it all. Today we will be looking at what the Word of God has to say about the pace that the world has set and what our response should be to it.
Before we consider what our response to this rat race pace of life the world has set for us should be, I think it is important for us to consider a few important facts. First, who it is that has set this current pace and the reason for it. The Bible tells us that Satan is presently known as the "god of this world". We read this in 2 Corinthians 4:1-5, ĎTherefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake."
This does not mean that Satan is the Lord God Almighty, he is not, never has been and never will be. But he is presently the one who is setting the course that the world is taking. A course that is adamantly opposed to Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Since manís fall to sin, God has allowed Satan to rule this world, to set its course and pace. This is not without restraint; God has put certain restraints on Satan for the time being. These restraints will be removed at the time known as the Great Tribulation, but for now Satan is limited as to the havoc that he can reek upon the world. So next time you hear or see the terrible things that go on in the world, donít charge God foolishly, rather give credit where credit is due, blame the wickedness of manís heart being acted out and Satan the god of this world.
Consider also the outcome of living at the pace of this present world. Or another way to say it is what is the fruit that is being born from this fast paced world in which we are living? Are the results good or bad, beneficial or harmful, are they drawing people closer to God and family or pushing them farther apart? Is it bringing a greater peace to the hearts and minds of the people or less?
To answer this I would like for us to look at just a few verses that describe for us the type of life that God has for His children. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 15:11, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace." 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
Let me ask you a question or two, are these attributes what you are seeing in the lives of those around you that are living in this fast paced world? Do these attributes describe your life today as you are living in this world? If you are living by the dictates of this world, you will never know these wonderful attributes in your life, Only when you surrender your life and all that you are and want to be to Jesus Christ will you know the joy, peace, hope, and love of God.
One other point I want you to see as we come to an end of this subject. Did you know that Jesus was never in a hurry? People tried to make his life rushed and hectic but He consistently refused to allow others and the world to dictated to Him how He should live and respond to lifeís events.
One particular instance stands out in my mind. In John 11:1-7, "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
You can no doubt sense the urgency in the request of Martha and Mary. Their brother Lazarus was sick, so sick that in the following verses we read that he actually died. It would appear that Jesus was being uncaring and downright cruel to these two sisters of whom it is said that Jesus loved. He intentionally chose not to come to them the moment that they requested His assistance. Either He didnít know the severity of Lazarusí sickness, knew about it and wasnít able to do anything about it, didnít care, or had something else in mind for Lazarus and his sisters. As we read further on in the text we realize that it was the later.
When he did arrive the sisters greeted Him separately. They both thought that Jesus had arrived too late, that if He had only arrived sooner things would have been different. But Jesus wasnít late; He was right on time. God works in His way and in His time. He is never in a hurry like us. He never is worried or anxious about anything. Worry and anxiety is the absence of peace. Jesus is peace and desires all of His children to have and live in that peace.
As we have considered the contrast and the fruit of the fast paced life of the world and the fruit of a life in the pace of Jesus Christ, which is it that you will choose for your life? I urge you, get out of the rat race of this world and get into a life in Jesus Christ. Turn to Him now, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, turn away from your sin and invite Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Lord and Savior.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine