Do you remember the little song that goes something like: The toe bone's connected to the foot bone...the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone...the ankle bone's connected to the leg bone...and so on? It was a folk song we learned in school when I was younger. I don't even know if kids sing in school anymore, but it was a cute song designed to get us both singing and moving. As we'd sing each portion, we'd point to the parts we were singing about - hence accomplishing some physical exercise with the words of the song. I would like us to consider another "connection" of "body parts" this morning - the knee - foot connection. Now, before someone wants to give me a lesson in anatomy, know that I aced that class when I was in nursing school, so bare with me here!
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4:7-10 MSG)
There is something quite amazing about the "knees-feet" connection. You see, James reminds us when we get down on our KNEES - humbly submitting ourselves to God - we find we are able to stand on our FEET much better than we ever could without this "connection". Let me begin by saying, I don't spend a lot of times physically on my knees in prayer because of a knee injury I sustained at the age of 19, but I do spend a fair amount of time in the place of prayer in my spirit. There is just something about getting "face-time" with God which makes our ability to stand much easier, isn't there?
James has been talking about the struggles we all experience as we go through life - things like wanting what we don't have, desiring to live just close enough to the edge to be on the "right" side, but able to flirt now and then with the "wrong" side! Now, don't get me wrong, I am not accusing - I am just reporting what I know to be true about myself on occasion! IF you might just perhaps struggle with similar things, then what James is saying may just be important for you to latch onto, as well.
The challenge James issues is one of "commitment" - are we willing to get serious enough in our pursuit of right-living to quit dabbling in sin? Whenever I have been half-hearted in any pursuit, like exercise, following my healthy diet regimen, or the like, I find I have to come to the place where I am willing to "get serious" again. If I don't, then I drift into a place it takes me a whole lot longer to get out of than it did to get into! The same is true with spiritual pursuits - a little "dabbling" in the stuff which only puts us into places of shame, guilt and ill-feelings of all sorts will just make it harder to "get back" to the place we really need to be.
The issued challenge: Get serious! The means to meeting the challenge: Surrender. Isn't this the "knees-feet" connection? When we finally "get serious" about what gives us the greatest heart-aches in life, we find ourselves needing more than just a fleeting experience. We need a connection which leaves the baggage behind and makes us able to rise to our feet strong and solid. The only place for this connection is at the feet of Jesus. Amazingly, it is in humbling ourselves we find ourselves lifted up again. Not in prideful vanity, but in the strength of a compassionate and loving God.
The knee-feet connection is the starting point for all change. It is in laying down something that our hands are free to take up something more valuable. If you were a child who carried a blanket or favorite stuffed animal around from place to place with you, you will probably associate with what I am about to say a little better. The day came when someone told you to lay it down, didn't it? The constant companion you had formed such a bond with held such significance to you, didn't it? You received some "comfort" from having that constant companion. When you were told to lay it down, you likely resisted. Why? You could not imagine life without it!
The first couple of naps without it might have been terrifying. The first few days without the consistency of that object may have left you feeling "naked" and kind of out on your own a little. Yet, in time, you learned to nap without it, felt less naked, and you learned there were other things to "embrace" in life beside the blanket or stuffed animal. You learned something we call the "put off-put on" dynamic. By putting off (laying down the blanket), you were able to put on something new. The same is true in our spiritual life. When we lay down something, we are opened to the new possibilities ahead. The knee-feet connection is the starting point - not the end!
Not sure what knees-feet connection you may need to make today, but I trust in laying something down, you will find your hands (and heart) fully able to embraced exactly what you need to bring you to your feet strong and able in all respects! Just sayin!