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The Big Red X

We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started. (Henry Ward Beecher)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way. Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord and stay away from evil. If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body. (Proverbs 3:5-8 ERV)

If you have ever watched one of those "talent" shows, you might be familiar with the concept of the "big red X". You see, as the musicians, singers, and performers take stage, they are in a position of proving they are not deserving of the "big red X". They hope for a standing ovation, and most importantly, for the overwhelming approval of the three or four judges sitting in front of them. In our lives, we sometimes don't "put ourselves out there" because we fear the "big red X". We don't always know we will "perform well" in whatever feat lies ahead of us, and we sometimes put way too much credence in the value of those we deem as "important judges" in our lives. Let's clear a couple of things up - God is the ONLY judge that matters and ANY distance we travel that brings us closer to him is the right path to take! It doesn't matter what others think or how they will "judge" us. The good news is that God doesn't give out "big red X's". He might not always approve of the way we are "performing", but he uses his position as "judge" in our lives to get us back on course, not to tear us down or humiliate us.

All of us have a ways to go in our walk toward being like Jesus. None of us has actually arrived at the point of "perfection" in this earthly realm. We might as well face it - all of us are still "practicing our acts" to see that we "perform" well each and every time we set out to take action in life. This is called obedience, not "performance". We take steps toward our goal, climbing just a little bit closer to "no red X" performance in our lives, but we don't always "nail it" like we'd hoped to when we started out. Don't worry so much about the times you didn't "nail it", but look to God to show you how to make the necessary corrections so you come closer and closer each time you set out on that journey.

Many people will attempt to exert their influence in our lives based on some particular set of actions they see (our performance). In turn, we often "bend" toward whatever action they see as "necessary" in order to get us closer to not receiving a "big red X" from THEM. This is contrary to what scripture tells us, for we are not to live to please men, but to please God himself. (Colossians 3:23) We are do to all things so as to please God, but we get all wrapped up in what others will think about the actions we are taking and give way too much credence to their "opinion" about our actions. At best, they render an opinion. God doesn't want us living by opinion, but by truth! His truth reveals those who seek him first, keeping their focus directed toward him, will find themselves hitting the mark!

Obedience is a journey - it is a climb. We don't need to get so focused on the destination as to miss the milestones along the way, though. I want to be at the point which marks the climb's highest peak, but along the way, there are some pretty significant milestones that obedience reveals. We need to enjoy these milestones, for every step of obedience is a good step to take, even when you don't quite realize the summit of the peak yet! Just sayin!

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