Monday, December 2, 2013

Going a Little Farther - Part 2 - In Title No Longer

I titled this series "Going a Little Farther" because sometimes we have to do that.  Comfort zone not required when we are trying to go in the direction of God.  If we don't check regularly, we might end up in a ditch or worse, in the same place we've always been.

Part 1 was to remind us who we are in Christ, which is easy to forget when we get in deep.  Mary Poppins had it right, it's a spoonful-of-sugar-helps-the-medicine-go-down thing, so the healing can get done. 

When we were living in Trinidad, I participated in the Psalms of Ascent study by Beth Moore.  That year was full of tons of spiritual checks and rechecks; the results still being felt.  One day, there was an exercise based on Psalm 130:3.  We had to sit quietly and think about what our lives would be like if we'd never accepted Christ; if we'd just kept going along the path towards death and destruction.

It was an agonizing process but at the same time, completely cathartic.  I needed to remember I wasn't just a "Christian" by title like I'd been for so long.  I wasn't paying lip service to God, like I did for years.  I was in an intimate, very personal relationship with Him and that brought hefty dividends of change for the better.  Jesus had made me into the real-deal-Holyfield.  Walking through what my life would have been like without God had me on my face.  I'm not saying my life was perfect, but that exercise stuck with me through some very dark days.

Faith is more than just acknowledging God exists or believing in Him for a get-out-of-hell-free card.  It's taking Him at His Word, trusting Him to do what only He can do.  It is a committment, a covenant!  The seriousness of it the same as my wedding vows.

We acknowledge God all the time but don't live like it (see pledge of allegiance).  Going from acknowledgment to belief is much more agreeing with Him.  Faith in Jesus makes all the (eternal) difference.  In Christ, we move on up to an deluxe apartment in the sky, friends!

It's not prayer, worship, Bible Study or service that changes your game.  We can do all of those things without ever trusting The Lord.  It takes a heart, spirit and mind united in the belief of the Cross that unlocks the jail cell.  That faith gets us up and moving, out of the cell block, out of the yard and out past the fence line.  It's as much as a change of location and address as a change of heart. 

Acknowledging God's ways as the right way doesn't get me beyond the fence.  It's the living constantly connected to the Holy Spirit, nose-to-shoulder-blades that gets us into freedom.  We will spend time living in the halfway house (Part 3), transitions into our custom-made Jesus-Joint (Part 4), or more commonly known as the Promised Land. 

Freedom is learned blessing, on His terms.

Aren't you tired of doing all the "right" things but never seeing any reward or change?  Are you sick of the fruit dying on the vine and the gifts He's given you go unused?  Are you interested in what abundant life really looks like?

Then do more than agree, dare to hope.  Walk out of your jail cell into the blinding Son-light.  It will hurt your eyes at first, but you will get used to it.  So much more awaits you, so much life in that light than you could ever dream.  Hope for it and grab at it with both hands.

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