And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. – Hebrews 10:19-24
This morning, at the Saturday men’s Bible study I attend, we talked a lot about the idea of guidance. “What do we do when we face a challenging situation?” “How do we know that our decision reflects God’s way and not simply something that feels good to us?”
We’re two-thirds of our way through Norman Vincent Peale’s classic, The Power of Positive Thinking, and today’s chapter focused on getting over/beyond/through challenging circumstances that begin to overwhelm us.
Peale suggested (in typical fashion) that we do such-and-such, follow his “formula,” check off the items in his list – and then move forward with confidence. I tend to agree with Peale most of the time because he always insists on prayer, reading God’s word, more prayer, and working to deepen our relationship with God.
MOMENTUM vs INERTIA: The spiritual principle that stood out to me in today’s conversation was not specifically delineated by Peale, but I believe it is critical if we want to make progress in any aspect of our lives. The principle is this: a body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
- What I’m talking about, of course, is the huge difference between momentum and inertia. In our lives as spiritual people, it is critically important that we remain in motion.
If we are walking with God, then – as people already in motion – it’s not so much of a stretch to keep on keeping on along the pathway. The focus is not each individual decision (do I do this? or do I do that?) so much as the fact of the ongoing journey in the company of The Master.
One thing remains very clear to me – this journey is always about moving forward, never about going back. Nostalgia is an ineffectual frame of reference because, A) most nostalgia is 75% fiction; B) nostalgia keeps us from moving forward; C) change is – necessarily – part of the definition of life.
DECREPIT HVAC: This was made abundantly clear to me when they ripped out our old, decrepit, mostly useless air-conditioning system Thursday morning. Someone from the late 1980’s and 1990’s could have said, “It worked fine when I was living here!” and, “They should rebuild it just the way it was.” or, “These young people don’t need to come in here and change everything!”
But look at it! Rust; mildew; mismatched parts; leaks; bad connections; inefficient as heck; unimaginative design; bad for the environment; poorly insulated; energy hog… and so much more….
Sad thing is, most of those were true the day the HVAC system was first installed.
Moving forward means constantly reinventing, retooling, recalibrating, renewing.
INSURRECTION! In this weekend after Easter Sunday we’re not just talking resurrection but insurrection! Let me explain: Jesus beat death and offers us brand new life that doesn’t, won’t, can’t end in death. Having got on board, this new life calls us to insurrection!
We are invited to rise in revolt, rebellion, and resistance against “the way things are…” The way things are needs to be thrown out on the curb like my old AC parts. Jesus is the new and living way.
Nostalgia looks longingly at the past; Jesus invites us into tomorrow!
So, let’s “remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a).