Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Give me another energy drink!

There are times when the journey gets long and we just don't want to keep up doing what we have been doing all along.  In those times, we just want to give up, or maybe see if a fresh start will change anything for us, maybe because we hope for things to just be "over" in our present circumstances. It is not uncommon to think a new start will make things all better in life, but the truth is we seldom leave something unfinished to never encounter it again.  Those "unfinished" things in our lives just keep coming up over and over again until we finally allow them to be seen through to completion.

What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 MSG)

We all find it hard to be obedient 100% of the time, don't we?  There continues to be just a little streak of rebellion in us - the desire to have our own way - to follow our own will just once in a while.  If we were truthful, there are probably more times when our will wins out than we'd like to admit. We also find it sometimes a little more than challenging to continue in a path we are called to walk when the end just doesn't seem to come.  I hiked a particularly long trail into the Grand Canyon once.  All along, the guys told us gals it was just a couple miles down and a couple miles back up and the three day venture would be awesome.  May I just say they either did not do their research very well, or they were really pulling the wool over our eyes because THEY wanted to go!  It ended up being 13 miles in, and you guessed it, 13 miles out!  Every couple of miles, there was one of the members of the tribe stationed under a shady tree.  We'd venture to ask how much further it was, only to hear it was two miles.  Yep, two miles between those men under shady trees - but not two miles to the end!  The end didn't seem real after about the fourth guy!

The hike was unbearably long and the women along on the hike were getting more than a little discouraged by the reports it was another two miles.  Our energy was waning and our patience was gone.  We wanted to give up.  When we finally passed through a particularly overgrown spot, with some fresh spring water, and then a little village, we thought we finally made it.  Yep, you guessed it - another two miles!  Once we got to our destination, set up camp and started a little fire to begin a meal, we began to settle down and enjoy the beauty around us.  The journey had been long, but it had been worth it - at least in the sense of experiencing the awesomeness of the nature we were beholding.  What we had to do to get to our destination was much like what Paul is telling the Philippian believers to do - redouble the effort put forth - don't give up - seek the energy deep within which comes not from what we possess on our own, but from what God places deep within.

This is how we make it along this journey we call life - redoubling our efforts to remain on course even when the end just doesn't seem to be forthcoming. The energy we need for the long-haul is not something we produce on our own. Just as we experienced on that hike, human energy is spent long before the journey is over.  We need the divine energy of God within if we are to stay the course and to push through to the end.  Sometimes the best prayer we can utter is to ask God to redouble our efforts - to give us the "juice" to keep up the forward movement.  Obedience often requires an effort not found within, but found "IN" Christ.  We don't know the power available until we admit to needing his power.

Remember this - no amount of energy we can "muster up" equates to the energizing of God's Spirit within us.  When we finally get that that the endurance required for consistent obedience is not from some "mustered up" energy within, but from God's infusion of that energy when we admit we cannot go on any longer on our own, we finally understand how it is we walk in obedience on this earth.  Just sayin!