August 29, 2018, the journey continues…
Mankind no longer automatically walks with God because we have the sin nature of Adam. At the first moment of spiritual awakening, we choose disobedience rather than obedience. In this initial contact between good and evil, mankind selects self rather than God. Thus the “fall”— the spiritual gap.
People can close their spiritual gap. Closing the difference is not easy. The good news is that God is in the business of helping us close the gap.
When you identify a spiritual gap, take four action steps to close it.
- Acknowledge the gap. You must see your sin and acknowledge the gap exists. You cannot become a Christian “ostrich” and stick your head in the sand and pretend the gap doesn’t exist.
- Confess. God requires confession of sin; not that He may be informed, but that the sinner may come face-to-face with his or her disobedience. There needs to be a self-examination and acknowledgment of guilt before restoration.
- 3. Define specifically where the gap first occurred. In identifying where the gap first occurred, you look for the deviation between what is happening, and what should be happening. You want to track what is happening back to the point of divergence where you took the wrong turn. It is at this spiritual deviation point —and only at this point — that you can discover the cause of the difference. You are looking for the sin—either of commission or omission—that caused the spiritual deviation and resulting spiritual gap.
- Act and accept restoration. Closing the gap is the product of conviction and confession. Just as disobedience to God caused the breach, obedience to God provides renewal.
These four action steps, to closing a spiritual gap, are illustrated in 2 Kings Chapter 6. The sons of the prophets came to the prophet Elisha and explained that they need to expand their living quarters and ask him to go with them to the Jordan River while they build new housing.
Elisha agreed to go. While the workers cut down trees, one of them lost his ax head in the river. The worker fell a tree (doing what he was supposed to be doing), and now the ax head is lost placing him in the position of not doing what he was expected to do. Beginning with verse five, we see the four steps the worker took to return to work thereby, closing the gap.
- Acknowledged the gap. “But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water.” (v. 5). With the loss of the ax head, the worker was unable to carry out his assignment. He experienced a gap between what was supposed to be and reality.
- Confessed. He willingly admitted the problem and that the problem was his. “He cried out and said, ‘Alas, my master! For it was borrowed’” (v. 5).
- Defined precisely where the problem (Gap) first occurred. Elisha inquired of the worker as to where the problem occurred. “Where did it fall?” (v. 6). And when the worker showed him the place Elisha gave him instructions for recovering the ax head. Today, God asks the same question, “Where specifically did you get off track?”
- Took action and accepted restoration. Elijah gave him directions for restoring the ax head he had lost (v. 7), “Take it up for yourself.” So the worker put out his hand and took it (the ax head had miraculously swam to the surface).” The restoration was not complete until the worker reached out and took the ax head in hand. Likewise, people who want to close their spiritual gap must, upon receiving instructions from God, follow His instructions completely.
To eliminate a spiritual gap, people must: acknowledge the gap exists; confess to being the cause of the gap; define where the gap first occurred and take action to close the gap. Once the gap is closed, accept restoration. What is causing your spiritual gap? What steps must you take to close the gap?