“Let us throw aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
In yesterday’s blog, we considered how the principles in that verse apply to our Physical, Financial, and Vocational health. (Go here to read: https://pastordajo.com/2017/08/23/moving-forward-part-1-throwing-out-the-garbage/).
We realized that, IF we are going to actually ‘Move Forward’ and make real progress in these areas, it can’t be done by merely increasing some positive elements–like starting to exercise, or adopting a budget, as important as those are.
If we really want to ‘Move Forward’, we simply must ‘Throw out the Garbage’.
How does this apply to our Spiritual lives?
For the Christ follower, it means constantly embracing the mindset that John the Baptist adopted when he said, plainly, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30, NIV).
I need to be willing to identify, and eliminate…turn my back on…repent of the sins that I’ve been committing in my life, telling myself that ‘I can’t seem to find victory’ in those areas, and getting too comfortable with them. We must also be willing to set aside the habits and practices that are simply holding us back…even if they are not ‘sin’, in and of themselves.
He always wants us–as His children through our faith in Jesus Christ–to move closer to Him. He is the perfect, loving, gracious Heavenly Father who has no ‘ill-will’–zero–toward us. He isn’t too busy, He isn’t too crabby, He isn’t too stressed, and He isn’t too tired for us. He always has time for us–as His children–to come closer. He constantly invites us in. That is His character. He is the PERFECT Father.
Here @ KCC, we talk a lot about “Relentlessly pursuing an ever-deepening relationship with God”–and He wants us to!
With that in mind, think of this scenario:
A child has been adopted into a good home, where the Father is a loving, attentive, present, and in all ways healthy Father figure. He wants, more than anything, for this new child to know that they are welcome in to the family. They have been given all the rights of family members, they have access to the Father, they are invited to sit at the table for family meals, etc.
Imagine that child finding this too good to be true, and therefore–in order to protect themselves emotionally–they refuse to accept it. Day after day they refuse to speak to the Father, they refuse to eat at the table, they refuse the Father’s invitations.
If things stay this way, this child will never really ‘know’ the Father’s love–not because it’s not there or it’s not real–but because they refuse to drop their guard, adjust their agenda, and receive the Father. In this case, the Father’s heart is broken because He knows this child is precious to Him, and He wants the child to ‘know’ and ‘rest’ in that love.
When you and I–as believers in Jesus Christ–make the decision to continue in some sin, or to continue to shut down the promptings of God (through the Holy Spirit) to spend time with Him in prayer, worship, studying the Word, etc…when you and I choose the distractions of this world over closeness/intimacy with God, we are acting like that child.
We will never really ‘experience’ God’s love at its fullest if we continue to busy ourselves with the distractions of this life. C.S. Lewis wrote,
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
It really does come down to this: Do you really believe that God–your Heavenly Father, through Jesus–loves you? Do you believe He has ‘Full Life’ in store for you? Do you believe that growing closer to Him will lead to blessing–in this life, and in eternity?
Conversely, do you believe that ‘you know better’ than Him? Do you believe that this world is where you ‘belong’? Do you believe that the stuff of this life is ‘the Best there is’?
Your answer to those questions will determine whether or not you are willing to replace the ‘garbage’ with The Good Stuff–God’s best.
…and that will determine whether or not you will continue to ‘Move Forward’.
Ultimately, if you want to ‘Move Forward’, spiritually, you and I must Throw out the Garbage, and replace it with The Good Stuff.
God knows The Good Stuff. He wants it for you…because He Loves you!