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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Drifting need not end in despair - Part II

No matter how far away you end up, GOD, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back…GOD, your God will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love GOD, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live; really live.  And you will make a new start, listening obediently to GOD, keeping all his commandments…GOD, your God will outdo himself in making things go well for you…Yes, GOD will start enjoying you again…The word is right here and now – as near the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest.  Just do it!  And I command you today: Love GOD, your God.  Walk in his ways.  Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God...
(Deut. 30: 6, 8-9, 14, 16)

The heart and mind are intimately connected.  Whatever we think on long enough will impact the course of our heart – affecting our emotion deeply and influencing our choices.  God knew this in calling us – and in that call, he planned for our ultimate “drift” in course - knowing full well that we are people who struggle with remaining steadfast.  He provided for a way of escape – a reordering of course.  

It is plainly described in our scripture – if we will again take his commandments seriously - there is restoration at hand.  It is a change of focus that God requires – and in the change of focus, there is a change in control.  When we take our eyes off Jesus, we place our eyes somewhere else - on self, on another person that we think may fulfill our desires, etc.  God's goal in "refocusing" us is to see us return Christ to center.  

When we move from being influenced by all that comes across our path, to being purposefully directed by that which gives us a sense of purposeful direction.  The influence of the Word is like the influence of the rudder of a ship – it gives clear, purposeful direction, staying the course for our lives, influencing the passion of our heart, and righting the thinking of our minds.  In “righting our course”, we embrace anew the influence of the Word to direct our course, and in turn, God embraces us in the winds of his Spirit, speeding our return to him.  

God seeks us out with the purpose of restoring us – he never counts on our own efforts or ability to bring us close to him again.  He delights in being good to his children - even when his children have not trusted fully in his goodness.  It is his extreme pleasure to provide for us – grace, love, compassion, and peace – every blessing in full abundance, not skimping in any way.  He seeks – searching in such a way so as to acquire again our hearts, our attention, and our center of control.  

His seeking is purposeful – our drifting is not.  His restoration is orchestrated – our movement away from him, on the other hand, is chaotic, confused, and a matter of chance.  The first step toward restoration is to “turn again”.  This suggests a change in our direction that is purposeful or a matter of choice.  It is a change in our course and a change in our posture.  We turn away from the pursuits that gratify our selfish ambitions and turn again to the safety of the things God designs for our well-being.  We shift in our posture – moving from bent down low in subjection to things that weigh us down and keep us burdened – to a posture of praise, adoration and uplifted head.  God’s promise to those who return – he will outdo himself in making things go well for us!

God’s call is to return – to come back to our proper position.  The condition of returning is orchestrated in obedience – to his Word.  Obedience opens us to his leading.  The first step in discovering the course God has for us is wholehearted obedience to his currently revealed will.  The revelation of God’s will comes in stages – just as stages of growth occur in us naturally.  As we are obedient to that which he asks of us today, he opens new truth to us tomorrow.  As we rightly redirect our course back to him today, he refines that course tomorrow.  Let us examine our “drift”, adjusting carefully our “heading”, that we might “stay our course” on that which truly brings us to the destination he has so graciously designed for our lives.  That destination is his presence – pure and holy, loving and gracious, restoring and renewing.