Recently a storm blew into Denver dropping the temperature by several degrees and bringing sleet and snow. Nevertheless, in an effort to expend Grace’s boundless energy, I decided to take her for a walk. She and I had no idea of the treacherous journey awaiting us.
I wore my snow boots because they have the best tread on their soles. We pushed forward as I was determined to drain puppy energy. Grace and I walked slowly, but her little paws slipped out from underneath her body many times. We tried to traverse through the snow covered grass, but every now and then we needed to use the sidewalk. My feet slipped a few times, eventually causing me to decide safety was more important than a tired dog. I shuffled my feet all the way home.
Later that day as the icy moisture continued to drop from the clouds, the roads became a literal sheet of ice. The street lights beamed upon the road revealing a glassy frozen blacktop. Out the window I noticed cars sliding left and right just to leave the apartment complex. Tires with deep traction offered the only hope to not slip or slide, and even then, with the ice on the road, nothing provided the tread necessary for slip-free driving.
Traction – the grip of a tire on a road or a wheel on a rail. Grip or adhesion.
I find myself pondering the idea of traction in the faith journey. How deep is the tread of my connection with God? What aids strong grip and traction in my relationship with the Lord? To what do I adhere to guide steady grip in Christ?
As I considered traction with the Lord, an acronym developed within my mind. Words arose that helped create a good grip with God.
T – R – A – C – T – I – O – N
Truth – Spending time in the Word with God grounds our soul in what is true, right, holy, and godly. This means space set aside to not just read the Bible, but to let the words of the Bible form us and shape us, creating deep traction. Sometimes a devotional, a Bible study, or a daily Bible app help create traction with truths from God. Do you have a consistent discipline of reading through Scripture? Do you approach the Bible with your own plans and perspectives, or with an open heart to let the Word teach and speak Truth to your soul? (Psalm 119:160)
Repentance – To get firm traction with God, engaging consistent confession cleanses the soul. Unconfessed sin causes us to slip and slide through life. Experience great connection with God through repentance. Sometimes others confront our sin and other times the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, yet all the time Jesus invites us to live honestly and holy before Him and others. Does godly sorrow fill your soul regarding your sin? If not, then perhaps worldly sorrow prevents truthful reflection causing your soul to resist the Spirit’s interior movement. Without repentance, reconciliation and restitution cannot follow and the tread of your journey with Jesus will be shallow. Bring your heart honestly before the One who loves you. (2 Corinthians 7:10-11)
Accountability – Living a life of accountability deepens the traction in our walk with God. We need people who offer wise counsel, authentic conversation, and truth-telling talk. Many have accountability in regards to work, but what about the personal life? To whom are you accountable? Of course, God, but who else knows your personal and private struggles? Who wanders through life alongside you offering insight, asking questions, and imparting observations? When we hide the deep and dark within us we miss out on the freedom and fullness God offers. (Galatians 6:2)
Community – We learn from our triune God the necessity of community. God did not create us to move through life alone – we need each other. If you notice an absence of desire for community, maybe ask yourself, why? Living in community helps us not slip and fall through life. While there is the greater community of faith worldwide, where is your community of faith locally? Community deepens our traction with God by providing support and encouragement. Take a survey of your community – those who really know you and with whom you fellowship, engage biblically, serve alongside, and with whom you laugh and cry. (Romans 12:4-5)
Trust – Experiencing traction with God flows from growth in trusting Him. Trust develops over time. Review the promises of God to remember the ways He lives faithful and true. He keeps His word. He does what He says He will do. His thoughts and ways differ from His creation, yet He proves Himself trustworthy over and over. Gain traction by grounding yourself in Scripture where God’s trustworthy character shines. In what ways are you trusting God today? What circumstances grow your trust and dependence upon God and His ways? (Psalm 9:10)
Incline – The Psalmist often prays, asking God to incline His ear to His people. We develop deeper tread with God when we pray. Incline your soul to the Lord. Learn from the Psalms ways to pray with depth and transparency. Rely on the truth of God’s Word to guide and lead you in prayer. Let God draw you unto Himself and listen for His gentle stirrings within your soul. How would your describe your prayer life with God? Incline your heart to His and live with a great grip with God. (Isaiah 55:3)
Obedience – When we walk in obedience our soul sticks to our Savior. Obedience flows from a heart fixed on Jesus. Ask God about the areas in your life where resistance prevents obedience. Jesus fulfilled the law and invites us to live in love. Sacrificial love completes the ten commandments found in Exodus as well as Jesus command to love Him and others in the New Testament. Love results in obedience to the ways of God. Ponder the ways you love God. How well do you love others? Live faithful to the truths of the Bible without rationalizations and excuses. (John 14:23)
Nap – Sometimes we need to rest until the ice melts so we have better traction. Are you so busy that you are too tired for God or for others? Jesus invites us to come to Him and experience rest. Whether a nap with sleep or a rest without activity, when we slow and still with our Savior our soul deepens its tread with God and experiences refreshment and renewal. Do you incorporate rest into your day and weekly rhythm? In what ways might God invite you to slowdown? Make room for your soul to find rest with the Lord. (Matthew 11:28)
May we, with the strength of God, live with great traction in our journey with Him. Don’t slip and slide through life. Get a solid grip with God by incorporating these elements into your faith experience for great traction: Truth, Repentance, Accountability, Community, Trust, Incline, Obedience, and Nap.
Let’s live with deep tread in our communion and connection with Jesus Christ.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
John 14:23 – Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
Psalm 33:4 – For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Charles F. Stanley. Pursuing a Deeper Faith: Develop a Closer Relationship with God. Nashville, TN. 2011.
Mo Aiken. Fully Known: An Invitation to True Intimacy with God. Grand Rapids, MI. 2021.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Elevation Worship. I Will. Trust. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JPT4u6hyb4
Chris Tomlin. Kindness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2lDqmnq2y0
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming speaking engagements.
February 3 –
Littleton, CO – Denver Seminary. Spiritual Direction Certificate Class