There is No Neutral

Given that a lot of you are now making goals and new years resolutions for 2010, I thought I’d give you something to think about in that regard.

To me, there are very few things in this life that are intended to be set to neutral. Cars have a neutral gear and I guess that can be of value although we usually just go forward or backwards. Some countries are neutral during war, but I’ve never been clear about what that means – doesn’t it really mean they are against the war?

At times, I think we all want to escape the pressures of life and coast along – no rules, no goals, no resolutions. Being in neutral and coasting through life sounds pretty good. However, in the issues of real importance, I think there is no neutral…you are either moving forward or moving backwards. That’s it.

  • In the realm of your diet, it’s almost impossible to stay fit without some effort – exercise, buying the right foods, limiting certain foods, eating the right kind of carbs, etc.
  • In business if you don’t proactively seek out new clients you’ll soon see your sales diminish.
  • In your relationships if you coast along without being honest with others, you are really going backwards relationally.
  • With children I have come to know the hard way that without steady, forward motion and “staying on them” a lot of things just won’t get done.
  • In schoolwork a continued ‘coasting’ along with your studies will actually end up having a backwards effect (yes, back to summer school!).

One time in college at Ole Miss I decided to spend money on more fun things rather than on silly things like anti-freeze. That winter during a deep freeze my engine block froze and cracked. It cost me about $1,000 for a used engine. My desire to coast along in neutral and “take it easy” with my car responsibilities resulted in going backwards financially!

I’m not saying that there’s not a good time to rest, relax and enjoy life’s pleasures. We all need a break from time to time. A vacation or rest can have a positive effect and help us move forward with more passion and energy.

However, in general, I think we are either moving forward in the important areas of life or things are deteriorating.

In the spiritual realm this need for forward momentum is also true, except its worse and more is at stake. We have an enemy who wants us to coast along spiritually in neutral so that we’ll be less a threat to his plans. If we coast along without attending church, we tend to get isolated and dry spiritually. If we fail to engage with those around us at a heart-level, we go backwards relationally. If we fail to open the Word of God, we are going backwards in our knowledge of God’s truth. If you take an extended break and coast along without any meaningful prayer time with God, I think you’ll go backwards in your faith and as a result you’ll be less effective, less alive and have less impact on the world around you.

So, as we move into 2010, I want to encourage you to engage, press forward and invest in what’s valuable in life.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.- Phil. 3:14

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