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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pushmi-Pullyu

When I was a child, the original "Doctor Doolittle" movie was released.  I was caught up in the mystery of how this amazing doctor could actually communicate with the animals.  One animal fascinated me, though.  It was the "Pushmi-Pullyu" (Push-me-Pull-you).  This "creature" had two heads - one at each end of the body - with really no tail at all.  It was kind of a llama of sorts, but with two head portions sharing one body.  Every single time it tried to move, it tried to go ahead in two opposite directions!  Now, does anyone else see the dilemma here?  When we are being pulled in one direction, it makes it almost impossible to move forward in the other!


Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!  You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other.  (Matthew 6:22-24a The Message)


I think we might live a little like the "Pushmi-Pullyu" as it comes to serving God.  In fact, there are times when we wish to draw near to him, only to find ourselves in a struggle with out "other end" trying to pull us the opposite direction!  One thing I have learned over the years is God's faithfulness to "pull" - he doesn't push.  He "draws" us, but he doesn't compel us forward.  If we take the first step, he is there to draw us on a little further.  The struggle we endure in our "walk" is really a struggle between desire of heart and a battle of the will.


As our passage suggests, our eyes are a window into our bodies.  As such, they betray whether we are being "pulled" or "pushed"!  When we are being "pulled" toward God, almost like a magnet gathers the iron from the sand, we are gently being tugged to "touch" him.  When we are being "pushed", it is like the magnet is turned to the opposite poles and we are being repelled by what is pulling!  The will wants one thing - the heart another.  


Jesus was quite clear - pull the blinds on the window and you will live a dark and dank life!  What our eyes behold long enough will begin to affect our will. If we are constantly shutting off God's light, we will eventually be pushed deeper into the darkness of a life of self-will.  The key part of our passage is the last statement:  Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other!  


So, Jesus was opening our understanding to the pursuit of the right "pull".  Adoration is a fervent and devoted love.  It is not a casual thing - it has intent, purpose, and commitment.  There is action behind the activity which emanates from a desire.  If we have the right desire - we engage in the right activity.  Wrong desire - ummm....not so good activity.  Jesus tells us when we adore something - we honor it - will all we are.  When we hold something in contempt - we think of it as worthless and of little value.


Opening to the "right stuff" allows our lives to be filled with light.  Shutting off the light leads to only more darkness.  Whatever we determine to be of "value" or "worth" in our lives will be what "pulls" us the most.  Since God is not in the business of "arguing" with our will, there must be some intention on our part to lay down our "will" to be pulled in the wrong direction.  In turn, his "pull" becomes stronger, compelling us forward.  Don't get me wrong - the "other head" will still try to move us in the wrong direction!  Whenever we focus on Jesus, we move toward him.  When we focus on self, we move inward and into the "darkness and dankness" of a life of self-will.


When we have made Jesus the focus long enough and frequently enough, the "pushing and pulling" begins to become less.  Instead of battling for who will "win", we begin to live intentionally - realizing that only one focus really affords a "win"!  In turn, adoration for Jesus fills our heart (brings light).  As a result, we develop a contempt for the things which exert an opposite pull in our lives - toward self.  Nothing honors God more than to be drawn by him.  Don't get me wrong - we still have the "two heads" - pulling in opposite directions.  One "pull" just gets stronger!  Now, that is GOOD news!