I Need To Get Traction

It’s a new year. How did we do in 2017? Some make goals, and claim if you don’t have goals, you don’t accomplish anything. There is sound reasoning there. Some say that they will allow God to make their paths because there is personal historical evidence that whatever goals they used to make get all re-arranged by God’s hand anyway. So, they view putting stakes in the ground almost as an act futility. There are others who never seem to get traction in their personal lives towards either one in accomplishing either what THEY wanted or what they felt GOD wanted.

But there are things that God wants all the time, every year. Here are some of several ……

Prayer – talking with God is not only what HE wants, but it builds up spiritual muscles

Worship – Lifting our praise to Him for all He has done, does, and all He’s going to do

Obedience – God never makes demands that are out of the question. Do what He asks

Faithfulness – This doesn’t mean “vain repetitions”, but regular communications

So, no matter what I put in the “goals” column, or where the wind seems to take me, I must include these as a foundational provision. Getting “traction” means a forward progress in getting somewhere with these. What do we mean by traction?

In railroad terms, “tractive effort” is a term used to describe the formula calculating the downward force of the weight of a locomotive required to move a large load (the train) without spinning its wheels (called wheel slip). A locomotive cannot pull a train if the locomotive doesn’t weigh enough or the train is too long or heavy. Steel wheels on steel rails don’t get good traction unless the locomotive weighs a lot. Even then, the engineer can’t “gun it”. The train has to start slow, to allow the traction effort to overcome the inertia of a stationary train. For instance, back in the 1940’s the Union Pacific Railroad had over 20 of the largest steam locomotives ever built. The “Big Boy” locomotives with coal tender weighed 1,250,000 pounds. That weight on steel wheels was sufficient to pull a 3,500 ton train up a 1.1% slope (grade). This locomotive “Made the Grade”.

If we look at an automobile with rubber tires, it doesn’t take that much weight to move. The power is there. The traction is there. The acceleration is there. But is has nowhere near the hauling capacity of a train. A passenger vehicle weight varies approximately from 2,500 pounds to over 5,000 pounds. But powerful engine availability allows possible traction breakdown with screeching tires and a lot of smoke.

Prayer, worship, obedience, and faithfulness have to be included as the primary bedrock of all personal activity. If we are heavy on prayer, but no worship, obedience, or faithfulness; our lives will not reflect to true purpose God created us for. If we have worship, but no prayer life and obedience is nil, our wheels are spinning and people see a lot of smoke. In other words, our lives “slip” away from us when we put “our” goals” ahead of God’s.

So, for this upcoming year, let’s gather around the Scripture, and build on at least these 4 columns of personal support and share load between us as we labor for a purposeful and collaborative life lived.

“Lord, thank You for providing practical examples of successful everyday living.Adjust “our” plans to fit Yours, so we may see the fruits of prayer, worship, obedience, and faithfulness down the road.In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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