Have you ever been stuck in a rut? It happens in life to most people.
When you Google “rut” the following definition pops up first: 1. A long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles. Synonyms: furrow, groove, trough, ditch, hollow, pothole, crater.
If you have ever driven on a dirt road or a long dirt driveway, driven in the snow or have been four wheeling, you understand what a rut looks like and feels like when you drive across it or find yourself stuck in one. There was a time in America when most of the roads were not paved, so finding yourself in a rut would be common. Now, the closest we get to being in a rut is if we slide of the shoulder into a ditch. It still happens, but not as frequently.
The second definition that pops up is: 2. A habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but it is hard to change. Synonyms: boring routine, humdrum existence, habit, dead end.
More than likely, this is the kind of rut you will find yourself in. These kinds of ruts are found in every aspect of our lives. We can get into ruts in our jobs, relationships, exercise routine (or lack thereof), and the daily grind of life. These ruts can also be found in our spiritual lives. It is not uncommon for individual believers and churches to get into a spiritual rut.
Guess what? Your pastor sometimes finds himself in ruts as well. So when that happens, I have to do what everyone else does when they find their car stuck in a rut. I call for help.
You see, it’s usually impossible to get yourself unstuck and out of a rut. It normally takes other people who can help pull and push your way out. If that doesn’t work, it takes someone with the right equipment (like a tow truck) that can pull you out.
The same is true when we find ourselves in a spiritual rut. When that happens, we call for help. The first person to call on through prayer is the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, you can get help from other believers. And finally you may need to seek help from someone with the right equipment like a pastor or a counselor.
David knew what it was like to be stuck in spiritual ruts. The psalms are filled with prayers when he found himself stuck. David acknowledges that many times the cause of his rut was getting off the right path. In the above psalm, he is praying for God to “show me Your ways” and “teach me your paths”. The latter part of this verse in the NLT says: “point out the road for me to follow.”
After prayer and counsel from others, the next place to turn is scripture. We can get the direction we need from His Word. The Bible is our roadmap for life. When we get off God’s road, we can get stuck in ruts.
Four wheeling in the mud is fun, until you get stuck. If we aren’t careful, we can get bogged down in sin. This is when we turn to the only One who can pull us out of sin, Jesus. By confessing and repenting, He gets us out, cleans us up and puts us back on the right path.
Rose of Sharon, are we stuck in a rut? If so, we need to get out of the rut by trusting Jesus and working together to get out of the rut and back on the right road. When you look around Durham, do you see people stuck in ruts? Can they depend on you, me and our church to help them out? My prayer is that they can and we will.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.