Saturday, July 7, 2018

Adjustment necessary

Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that we "aim above the mark to hit the mark." We might think to hit the mark we merely aim at the mark. The truth is that the only way to hit it is to really be 'on the mark' in life. The mark? Christ himself! Can we really aim higher than Christ? No, but to 'hit' the mark, we keep our focus upward, not merely on some 'point' within the bulls-eye! We aim at the highest point 'within' the mark and then we proceed to move in that direction. There is no greater 'aim' in life than to follow Christ's example - doing that by living 'within the grace' he gives us.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.  (Romans 12:3 MSG)

Our aim isn't to just 'be like Christ', but to allow Christ to become alive within us so that we have the very fibers of our lives transformed by his grace. Hitting the target is not merely our work, it is God making that 'target' alive in us - making it possible for us to 'hit the target'. Our part in this is to keep our eyes on the excellence of Christ and then we respond to God helping us 'adjust our focus' as necessary so that we are always proceeding toward the 'bulls-eye' of his excellence.

Part of what God does to help us 'hit the target' is to give us an accurate picture of what each of us really is and where the adjustments in our lives need to be made. We can look in a mirror and see a reflection of the target behind us, but that isn't the most productive way to view the target. We view the target 'head-on'. What happens is we view the target in a mirror? We are also very much in focus, not just the target! God helps us the most by turning us around so that the thing we see the most is Christ and not us! This is what helps make our aim right and true.

The target cannot be behind us, nor is it somewhere off to the side, but right in front of us. I have watched bow hunters try to take aim at something 'on the run' from them. The adjustments that must be made when something is moving away from the point where you first take aim requires that you continue to adjust your aim. They don't just aim at the animal, but slightly above the present position of the animal because it is on the move. Jesus is always moving our focus just a little bit higher, sometimes because he moves a little, causing us to make those adjustments to our focus. Those adjustments get us moving again.

We all need adjustments from time to time - because we'd just hunker down thinking we could hit the target each and every time from where we are at presently in our walk with Jesus. The fact is that we have much more 'adjusting' to do to consistently hit the target. So, Christ moves us from beyond the blind of our present faith out into the open sometimes. We aren't always able to remain 'under cover'. There are times and seasons when God will take us out of the comfort of our 'cover' and cause us to adjust our position so we remain on target with him. We should not resist this movement, because it is keeping our aim right! Just sayin!