, Muskogee, OK

June 19, 2013

FORT FAITH: Christ brings direction to a world spinning out of control

— By Barrett Vanlandingham

My son, Britton, and I had a blast at the Fort Gibson burnout competition over the weekend. The weather was perfect, the attendance was great, and the hotrods were impressive.

It was amazing to watch these souped-up cars with high performance engines sit absolutely still while the rear wheels spin full speed ahead, smoke billowing into a crowd of cheering fans.

The pessimistic part of me kept wondering if one of those roaring speedsters was somehow going to get loose and rocket through the crowd. Thank the Lord and some skilled drivers, that didn’t happen.

And while this was no doubt a fun event to enjoy, the minister part of me could not help but make a comparison between someone whose life just seems to go around in circles and never really get anywhere, just like those spinning wheels. There may even be a smokescreen or other superficial evidence of progress, or even friends cheering them on in their endeavor, while in reality nothing of spiritual significance has occurred in that person’s life. We see this happening all over the world as people continue to look for answers in the wrong places.

It can be easy, even for Christians, to get so caught up in day-to-day life, and in our own projects, desires, and hobbies that we forget to spend time and effort on the important things. The Israelites were constantly guilty of this behavior, and as a result, God let them circle through the wilderness for 40 years! The Bible warns Christians against wasting time.

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17).”

One important thing to remember is that even though physical growth happens without much effort, spiritual growth happens only by choice. And God urges us to do so. He even lists specific areas to work on for those of us who wear the name Christian.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).”

May God bless your spiritual journey, that you may not go in circles, but instead make forward progress as you work towards spiritual growth everyday. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or at