By Paul Miles
I graduated High School in the town of Hallsville, Texas. Out there in East Texas, we tend to measure cities by how developed their roads and transportation are. When I moved to Hallsville, there weren't any red lights, but soon they installed one right smack-dab in the middle of town. After I graduated, they put up a few more around town, but all throughout school my friends from Longview and Marshall made fun of Hallsville because it was "a one-red-light town." That just shows the pride of mankind -- people think that if they have a Wal-Mart they can make fun of anybody.
It was a real surprise when I came to Kiev, Ukraine and got to see what they call a metro. A metro is a machine on train tracks, but it doesn't carry big tanks like the one in Hallsville; it carries people! It zooms all over the place and has its own bridges so that it doesn't have to stop for anybody and nobody has to stop for it. It even goes underground in some places. Now, to ride the metro, you have to pay the cashier, who will then give you a token that you put into the token machine so you can pass through safely. Please don't mistake me for a sissy, but that token machine is THE SCARIEST THING IN UKRAINE! It looks like two little walls with a token slot in the front. You put your token into the slot and then are supposed to walk between the walls. What you can't see is that inside those two walls are two monstrous robot arms that will spring out and pinch your legs if you don't put your token inside. And when the legs spring out, they make a loud "BOOM!"
There are sensors in the machine to detect if someone is trying to walk through without paying the token, but sometimes there's a malfunction. Sometimes the token doesn't go through quite right or the sensors have some sort of problem and the robot arms eat an innocent victim.
The Token Machine Waddle
I have developed a procedure for getting through the metro token machine safely. I call it "The Token Machine Waddle." The first step is to put the token in. Then comes the approach. You have to ease in on your tippy-toes and cover any sensitive areas that might get whacked by the machine. Then, real quickly, you have to hold your breath and jet through the machine. The follow-up is the most important step and involves looking around to see if anyone noticed that you just made yourself look like a total wimp. If not, then you can continue your metro ride as if nothing happened. The Token Machine Waddle may not be too bad for getting through the beast that takes your money, but it would be a terrible way to walk around all the time. I mean, just imagine having to be on your toes, covering yourself, and hoping that nobody sees you every time you go to the store or carry on with your daily life. It would be awful! It is unfortunate that for many people, their Spiritual walks resemble the Token Machine Waddle. Let me explain.
God wants us to be free to serve Him. Part of this is in having confidence in Him to be our Savior. When we know that we are in our Father's hands, our Spiritual walk can be one of confidence, because nobody can snatch us out of His grip. If we change our source of confidence, things get shaky. If we are no longer relying on God's promise to give us life freely, if instead we are relying on our own perseverance, then we have to start doing the Spiritual Token Machine Waddle. I don't trust the metro token machines, but I've seen them fail far fewer times than I've seen myself fail. The token machine hurts less, too. A confident Spiritual walk is characterized by faith in Christ as we take every step, but if someone has his faith in himself, he needs to be on his tippy-toes, for he can fall at any time. Those whose faith is in their own works tend to cover themselves when they fall, just like Adam and Eve did in the garden. They have to downplay their sins and hope that their sins aren't bad enough to warrant them separated from God. Their attention gets shifted to other men as they ask, "Am I doing better than they are?"
This is the wrong question. If you are looking at others' sins for justification of your own sins, then the best you can do is find someone who does an even worse job at the Spiritual Token Machine Waddle than you do. The question isn't whether or not you do better than other men, but whether or not God has imputed His righteousness upon you.