Friday, July 12, 2013

Keeping a firm grip

Have you ever stopped to consider how it is you get your body to do what your spirit is telling you to do?  If you really search out the scriptures, you will find that the way to your "body" is not so much through your "spirit", but rather through your "mind".  What you believe in your mind, you see acted out in your body.  What you commit to in your mind, you usually see commitment toward in your body.  What you focus on long enough in your mind will eventually become paramount in your life.  Most of the time, we try to get our body to dictate what our spirit should do.  Your spirit should be the one dictating to the body - you get to your body through you mind - so you need to ensure the spirit is working on the mind, not your body!

“Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, if you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, you’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.  You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.  Your world will be washed in sunshine, every shadow dispersed by dayspring.  Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again; you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.  Expansive, without a care in the world, you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.”  (Job 11:13-19 MSG)

In life, there are really two choices - either we walk in the path God sets out for us, or we choose to dictate our own plans and walk in our own stubborn ways.  To really make any inroads in a spiritual sense, we have to commit our minds and bodies to doing what our spirit tells us.  If our spirit is united with Christ's, it will not steer us wrong!

One of the hardest things to learn in life is the fact of there being no "neutral" ground in our walk.  There is no real way to be neutral in our thoughts, our actions, or our emotions.  Oh sure, you may say you are remaining neutral, but truth be told, you have an opinion or a bent one way or the other.  No one is entirely neutral.  To be neutral is to not be aligned with either side.  It is saying I won't listen to my body and I won't listen to my spirit.  So, in essence, you are saying "I will choose to be dead"!   A car in neutral goes nowhere - unless it is put in neutral on a slope - then it just heads toward the first thing which will stop it in its tracks!  The collision of the car against the first really hard surface doesn't do much for the car, does it!  Life in "neutral" is kind of like that - we might coast for a while, but at the end of the coasting, there is a collision of sorts.

Looking at our passage, let's see the progression of what Job lays out:

- Set your heart toward God.  What better place to "land" our emotions than on the rock of God's unchanging character.  Our emotions are up and down.  We need stability in life if we are to be able to get this "mind-body-spirit" thing all put together correctly.  

- Reach out to him.  Again, it is not a life in "neutral" - there is some action required from us.  Reaching is with the purpose of seizing.  You "stretch" a little when you "reach" like Job is implying here.  There is some exertion beyond what you "normally" do, think, etc.

- Get right with God.  Scrubbing your hands and setting your house in order is really a way of saying get rid of the junk which clutters your life.  Sin clutters almost every part of our lives until we allow God to clean house!  But...even the best cleaning by God requires some obedience on our part to allow him access, leave the stuff he puts in the rubbish pile right there, and to desire to keep a clean house long term!

The results:  The old life becomes like old faded photographs.  As time passes, you can barely make out the features like you used to!  Why?  The image of the old is no longer what you are today.  Now, this is the hard part - some old photographs need to be totally discarded because they no longer are a part of who you are today.  Why do we hold onto the old ways of thinking, allowing them to influence the actions of our body today?  It is usually because we have not made a clean break with the "old image" we have of our sin.

If we want to be truly free from our past, moving forward, mind/body/spirit in tune with each other, we need to make a break from our old ways of thinking and doing.  Just sayin!

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