Recently, a couple of spare keys were made for the lock on the door of our church building. But when those new keys were tested, they didn’t open the door. Blame for this failure was naturally ascribed to the keys and to the individual who had cut them out. So those keys were discarded and we tried again by having someone else create two more.
However, when those were inserted in the lock, one worked and the other one didn’t. Even the one which opened the lock didn’t seem to do so very easily.
That’s when we wondered if the fault might be with the lock rather than with those keys. So we got a can of that wonderful, all-purpose lubricant, WD-40 (the mechanic’s version of duct tape – it can be used for everything), and sprayed it in the lock.
Sure enough, after several applications and a little key jiggling, one of those spare keys began to work. In the process, I noticed a gray film on the key, indicating that the lubricant was working to clean out the gunk which had kept the lock from functioning well.
Similarly, God has given His children some wonderful keys to living a life of blessing in relationship with Him. He has provided us with some precious assurances and glorious promises which offer the hope of opening the door to a joyous and meaningful existence.
We like to quote those scriptures, claim those promises, and expectantly watch for God to do as He has said.
How often do we insert these keys into our situation, depending on them to be effective? “We know that all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28). “…He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). “You will keep him in perfect peace…” (Isaiah 26:3). “…all these things (food, clothing, and other necessities) shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). And there are so many more of God’s promises we rely on.
But what about when it doesn’t seem to be working? What about those times when things don’t seem to be working out for good, when God doesn’t appear to be directing us, when we aren’t experiencing peace in our hearts, when we are lacking some of those necessities in life, and when other assurances seem to be falling short of what they promise?
Our tendency is to blame the promise or the One who made it. “Why aren’t You doing what You said, Lord? What’s wrong with You? What’s wrong with Your promise or with Your power?”
Hopefully, we all know in our hearts that there’s never anything wrong with the Lord or with His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. In some cases, we may have misunderstood what He said. In other situations, He may be working to fulfill His Word and we just can’t see it. Other times, we may need to wait and keep trusting until the right time for God to answer.
But we also need to check out our end of the deal. The key of God’s promises is good, but what about our lock? Have we allowed it to get grimy with sin, rusty from complacency, or hardened from lack of use? Most of those promises of God come with conditions. God will do His part if our side is in order.
If you go back and read those full verses mentioned above, you’ll see that we must keep our lock lubricated with loving God, trusting Him with all our hearts, and putting Him first in order to be able to receive those wonderful keys God has for us.
So if those keys aren’t working for you, don’t discard them or blame God. Maybe you just need a little spiritual cleansing in order to experience His promised blessings.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.