Thursday, December 27, 2018

Plunge right in!

We all have those moments when we want to move forward, but something inside us is holding us back. We want change, but the thought of it overwhelms us. We desire newness, but the familiar often outweighs the unknown - doesn't it? As I have begun to work with wood a little this year, the thought of using some of the more 'daunting' tools is a little bit intimidating. Yes, I can put two pieces of wood together. Yes, I can sand them smooth. Yes, I can use a jigsaw, circular saw, and even a miter saw. Now, ask me how I am doing with the table saw! It sits there all ready to go, but it intimidates me! I have heard horror stories of digits severed, injuries from kickback of the wood and the like. The thought of it frightens me, but I know I can do even greater projects once I set my mind to learning the ins and outs of that thing! There are times we focus on our 'impotence' - our inability - instead of God's 'potency' - his ability. When we do, we might find ourselves staring at a mighty pretty table saw and never seeing the results of what it can help to produce in our lives!

Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God. (Romans 4:19-25 MSG)

Some of us are guilty of 'tiptoeing' around God's promises in our lives - terribly skeptical, not really willing to trust fully, and kind of focused just a bit too much on our own inabilities. We ask questions that betray our mistrust. We make obvious our focus by the way we avoid even looking in the direction of the change God desires in us. The more we avoid the thing we fear, the more fear we develop toward it! Why? Fear is like yeast in bread - it cannot be deemed inactive where it is given free rein! I have tried to use old yeast in a recipe, only to find my recipe a flop for the dough never rises - the yeast was impotent! It lacked the ability any longer to affect that which it was intended to affect. The same is true of us - the longer we sit around NOT using what God puts at our disposal, the less affect it will have if we ever do attempt to put it to use!

There are moments in time when we just have to plunge right into whatever it is God is calling us to do - because we cannot move beyond the fear without taking that first plunge! When I was a kid, we have a swimming pool in the backyard. All the neighborhood kids would congregate in our yard because it was the place to be on a hot summer's day. There were some times of the year, when it was getting warm, but wasn't really all that warm yet. We wanted to swim so badly. We knew the water wouldn't be as warm as it would be in just a couple of weeks when the weather turned even warmer, but we were desperate to swim! What did we do? We plunged right in! We didn't dangle our toes, creeping slowly into the water, shivering all the while. We took that first plunge and got it over with! From then on out, the water's temperature no longer deterred us from enjoying the fun of the pool.

The moment we take the plunge is the moment we declare to fear and doubt that they will no longer have control over our minds and hearts. We will be declaring very definitely that their influence will not be allowed to deter us from the things God has prepared for us. We can be sure that God will make good on all he promises - all that he has prepared for us in his infinite wisdom and grace. God isn't going to always 'warm the water' for us, my friends. Sometimes we just need to put the 'tiptoeing' aside and take a running leap into the unknown. What awaits us may just be more than we ever dreamed possible! God knows the possibilities even in the impossibilities and he has a way of exposing us to those possibilities best when we have taken that first plunge! It is a new year about to dawn - maybe God has called you to take that plunge into something new with this new year. It isn't going to come as long as we hesitate to take that plunge. Just sayin!