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"I Like Ruts!"

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"I Like Ruts!"

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One of my sisters retired after 27 years working as a telephone receptionist. She has many talents and has done much in her life—but the manager asked her how she could stick with a repetitive sort of job for 27 years. Her reply was: "I like ruts."

That got me thinking about habits, ruts and things that we do almost subconsciously. I soon realized that we all have ruts of some sort. They are either good or bad. Having routines in life, like going to bed at a regular time and such things are said to be healthy. Problems with drinking or gambling are habits or ruts that will cause us much pain.

It seems all of us develop ruts from childhood, and getting out of ruts that are going nowhere is not easy to do.

We do have the ability to change our habits, although in many instances we only do that under duress. This sort of change can be one of the most difficult of human endeavors.

We kind of like our ruts in life. When life has been full of bumps and rough spots, we crave some peace and quiet. Ruts often give us comfort and reduce stress. If the rut is really good, we need to let it get so deep we never would leave it.

Climbing out of Bad Ruts

God shows us ruts that He hates, and we should respond in love to Him and appreciation to Jesus Christ by climbing out of those ruts and walking in newness of life—that is establishing new ruts—the kind of ruts that please God.

Paul has much to say about the changes we must make. Romans 6:4 carries his admonition to walk in newness of life, and in verses 11-22 he tells us to stop being slaves to sin and to become slaves of righteousness. That means change.

True repentance is the recognition of sin and, when the horror of sin is understood, making a 180-degree turn and running in the opposite direction. We ought to be willing to make any change God asks of us in order to conform to the image of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2).

When I consider the effort some people have expended to obey God, I stand in admiration of them. Paul tells of some ruts or lifestyles that are so deep and so evil that remaining in them would cost us eternal life. He also tells of people who have managed to climb out of those deep ruts and made the needed changes.

Paul lists fornication, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, theft, covetousness, drunkenness, reviling and extortion as examples of behavior patterns that bar the door to God's Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). He also joyfully states: "And such were some of you" (verse 11).

The "were" carries an encouraging emphasis. These lifestyles often have deep roots that take great effort to fight. Some are so strong that total healing is not possible in this lifetime—but a change of behavior and attitude toward the problem is always possible. For some, total abstinence is the only solution.

Whatever the effort required, the only real choice is to make the change. Claw, scratch and fight your way out of the behavior patterns that could cost your eternal life. God does not want to lose a single person (1 Timothy 2:4).

Overcoming the Adversary

The Bible tells us that mankind has an adversary (1 Peter 5:8). Satan uses every means to disrupt the attempts of those who want to escape his influence and begin living a life that is pleasing to God. Jesus spoke about the ongoing struggle on the spiritual level that affects every one of us.

Matthew 13:18-23 tells the meaning of the parable of the sower and the seed, referring to the calling God the Father gives to those He selects. Some who do not understand lose that calling almost immediately because the "wicked one" comes and takes it away. Some who receive the seed on "stony places" fall from the calling due to "tribulation or persecution" that arise because of the truth. For some the cares of this world and "deceitfulness of riches" choke the word.

When these passages are examined in the light of our lives, we can readily see that some people have horrendous odds to overcome. It is only with the great power that God offers when He hears our strong cries and our vehement prayers, that the problems can be overcome. Even Jesus relied on this powerful help (Hebrews 5:7).

Perfect Patterns

What about good habits? God has behavior patterns that are perfect and never change. His "ruts" are so deep there is no leaving them. As the final product of conversion, the children of God will evidence the same deep ruts that the Father and Son already have.

Some of the behavior patterns of God are proclaimed in Exodus 34:6-7: Merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth, forgiving and just. Titus 1:2 states that God "cannot lie."

Those born of God "cannot sin" (1 John 3:9). Applied to this life this means they do not make a practice of sinning, but as spirit beings His children will have accepted the truths of God so completely and obeyed God so fully that their behavior can never again be changed to do something that would offend God.

While we are in the flesh, we could still fall. God's children will be "born" with new spirit bodies and minds, given new names and will dwell with Him for all eternity. They will be like God (1 John 3:2), with perfect patterns of behavior forever. UN