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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stay on your toes!

Staying on your toes is a term used to describe being prepared for whatever could happen.  In simplest terms, it means to be ready for action - ready to jump in and to take action.  In another sense, we can describe this as alertness or awareness of what is going on around you.  Either way, there is attentiveness, preparedness, and an investment which is spoken of when this term is used to describe someone.


So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul.  (Hebrews 3:12-14 The Message)

As this chapter opens, we are called to take a good, hard look at Jesus.  This is suggestive of more than just merely "entertaining" a fleeting acquaintance with who he is or what he has done.  It is suggestive of being really deeply engaged in finding out who this Jesus is.  In taking this "good, hard look" at Jesus, we are to come to recognize he is the center of all we believe - not just part of our belief.  As the center, it is important to realize everything else we believe must begin and end with him.


We are then reminded to consider the failure of our forefathers in the faith - the Israelites - who failed miserably in trusting God over and over again.  For a while, they'd surge ahead in faith, aligned with God's plans, but when they got "comfortable" with God's grace in their lives, they began to take God's grace for granted.  In the end, they'd fall into all kinds of sinful misdeeds which God warned them to avoid.  The writer refers to there actions as "trying God's patience".  Uh oh!  I see myself here!  I wonder just how many times I have taken God for granted, settled into my comfortable place, and drifted into complacency?


Guess what?  I am not in this "comfort zone" alone!  I think I have other companions in this journey who have done the same!  In fact, this is why our writer reminds us to "keep each other on our toes"!  He knew comfort's "drift".  He also knew the best way to avoid the "drift" is to have a companion in the journey - one who helps us to remain on our toes.  


In counseling terms we'd call this an "accountability partner".  Now, don't freak out here.  I honestly believe having someone in our lives who keeps us on our toes is more than having someone we confess our struggles to and ask for prayer.  As a matter of fact, one of my most important "accountability" partners doesn't even know she is holding me accountable!  In the simple ways she challenges me to consider my actions, to temper my words, etc., I am kept on "my toes".  Yep, she is helping me to draw nearer to Christ just by being in my life.  


Did you ever stop to consider the actions of a fighter in the ring?  He needs to be "on his toes" when he is faced by an opponent.  It is the presence of an opponent which brings him to attention.  I wonder how many times we have discounted the activity of being faced with an opponent in life?  Perhaps the presence of an opponent is really helping to keep us on our toes!


We are in this for the long haul - through comfort and unease.  We have to be ready for anything - good or bad.  We will face much in the journey - some more enjoyable than others.  In the midst of it all, we need each other's "coaching" to remain on our toes - so we don't give into the "drift" and lure of our place of comfort.  Who's in your life, keeping you on your toes today?  It could be a friend - and it could be the one in the ring with you!  Either way - keep Christ at the center, stay on your toes, and don't get too comfortable!