Stuck in a RutSummer vacations invite exploration, and who doesn’t love to explore? According to Webster’s dictionary, “explore” is defined as traveling in or through an unfamiliar place in order to learn more about it. Whether it’s the excitement of the unknown or the thrill of learning something new, from young to old, we all enjoy taking a risk now and then.

Such was the case years ago when our young family ventured to the Cayman Islands. Renting a Jeep for the week we decided to go off the beaten path with our two young boys.

At some point we chose to ignore the road signs (those warnings meant for our safety) and found our paved road turning into a dirt road. It was then that it happened. Our Jeep got stuck in a rut quickly ending our explorations. Thank goodness God got us out of that rut — that deep track made by the repeated passage of those who had made the same wrong choice as us. But what about the ruts in life that get us stuck spiritually?

I remember once reading a road sign that said, “Be careful the rut you choose, because you will remain in that rut for the next 25 miles.” In other words, be careful with your chioces.

It’s one thing to get stuck with the people you love on a hot afternoon in the Caymans. It’s another thing to get stuck spiritually — to form a habit or pattern of thinking that is incorrect, especially in your walk with God.
Romans 12 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.”

In a world full of blurred lines, it’s easy to get stuck in thinking the way the world does, and once we get in that rut, it’s difficult to get out. But the Bible teaches us not to become so comfortable with our culture, which is usually self-centered, that we fit in without even thinking. We are challenged to let God’s Word teach us to think differently. Not an easy task considering everywhere we turn we are influenced by others defining truth for us.

It takes a deliberate, hard turn to align our thinking with God’s truth. But when we do so, we discover that God loves us so much, He will never leave us circling in deeply rutted paths of untruth.

Making the commitment to study the Bible is not a task to be taken lightly. But attempting to navigate through life with no direction, no signs, no moral or spiritual boundaries to ensure we stay on the right path — well, that will land you in a pothole. When we study the Bible, we get to know the character of God — how He thinks, His nature, His attributes, His desires for our life and for mankind.

We learn that God will go to any length to have a relationship with people, even as far as sacrificing His son, Jesus.

We learn the history of how God has reached down to mankind through the ages revealing Himself.

We learn of man’s rebellious nature, wanting to ignore the road signs and go his own selfish way.

We lament over the inescapable consequences of man’s sin, yet we are reminded that with Jesus, there is always hope for restoration.

Through studying the Bible we get to know God, and knowing God changes the way we think. God transforms us into a new person by renewing our minds with His unchangeable truth. After all, nothing is different until you think differently.

Looking at life through the lens of the Bible changes the way we look at everything in this life. Understanding what God loves and what God hates, grasping His holiness, believing in His sovereignty over all peoples and nations throughout all time — well, that invites a new perspective.

When we trust in God as the ultimate authority in our lives, His thoughts gradually become ours. We may still be in the rut of unmovable circumstances, but our wrong thinking does not have to remain in that rut. God invites us into a way of right thinking. We begin to see and understand His good and perfect will throughout the ages and how He brings good out of the worst of situations. And once we align our will (our thinking) with God’s will, when we prove by the way we live that He can be trusted, we are changed from the inside out. In the biblical paraphrase of Eugene Patterson, “God brings the best out” in us.

What well-worn path of your own making are you spinning your wheels in today? After all, we never arrive anywhere in this life by accident. Knowing who or what to trust nowadays seems harder than ever.

Rather than trusting your own limited, faulty wisdom, consider exploring the Bible this summer. The Bible does not gloss over hard truths, and that’s a good thing — because God knows your name and the rut you are in.

The good news is you don’t have to occupy that same rut you are existing in the rest of your life. God loves to seek and rescue all, even from the ruts of our own making.

What are you waiting for? Open the Bible and find the solid ground you have been searching for.

Editor’s note: A version of this article appears in the June issue of Women’s View Magazine.

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