January 20, 2012
The analogy that I gave earlier this week was that of a car and its alignment. If a car is in perfect alignment then it will travel in a straight line without someone turning the steering wheel. If a car is not in alignment then the car can be made to go straight with the steering wheel.
Both ways the car will travel in a straight line, but as I discussed on Monday, God is not concerned about the straightness of our path, but the internal alignment of our souls.
As I said:
God is concerned about inner transformation not outer formation.
But transformation is a process and even the best analogies aren’t a perfect fit. So let’s take that analogy a bit further.
Let’s say that you have given your life to Christ and have asked Him to govern your life with the Holy Spirit as a comfort and a guide. You walk away from that moment perfectly aligned and right internally.
But once you get out on the road of life you find that there aren’t just smooth roads. You quickly find that there are a lot of roads that are rough and full of potholes. And we all know that potholes and rough roads are the enemy of a cars alignment. It doesn’t take very much driving on those kinds of roads before we find that you have to force the car to go straight by using force on the steering wheel.
So your intentions are right. You’ve given your heart to God and you want to serve Him with all your heart. But when you are out, the road gets rough and before long you are doing things that you did not want to do. You are doing things that ‘don’t line up’ with what the bible says a child of God should be.
So what is the answer? Continual re-alignment. Life with Christ is not a one-time-at-the-alter kind of experience where you get your ‘heaven card’ stamped and then you are good to go. No – that is not what a life with Christ is all about.
Transformation is a process. Re-alignment is necessary continually. For each of us it is necessary to read the Word each and every day. Maybe even more in the beginning so that we can wash out the old thinking and begin to feed in the good, life changing Word of God.
Behaviors are preceded by thoughts and the first place to start the transformation process is by changing your thinking. To change your thinking you must have a constant diet of the Word and meditating on that Word.
So let’s go back to our scenario for just a moment. You are aligned and out on the road of life you hit a pothole. You may have gotten word that you are about to lose your job.
If you are feeding on a continual diet of the Word, you will be thinking about all the promises of God and how He has promised to make provision for you. You will have come to know that He has plans for good and not for harm. When you start to feel a twinge of worry, you go to the Word or you meditate on the Word and the worry goes away and the road begins to feel smooth again.
If you don’t feed on the Word your worry begins to dominate your thinking and you become anxious and fretful. You might easily become angry or jealous of what others appear to have that you don’t. The Law says you don’t deserve to keep your job. You may eventually become disappointed and then discouraged. The Law says you didn’t tithe correctly or you didn’t give enough offerings. You thought that God was going to take care of you but now you are losing your job so you get angry with God. The Law says that you didn’t do all the right things to be favored by God. The pit (pothole) you are in just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Life will have potholes. But with the Holy Spirit as our navigator, the Word of God as our fuel, Jesus Christ as our lubricant, we can travel through the roads as if they were pothole free. But this is a process that does take time.
It will take time to change your habit from immediately thinking something negative to remembering the promises of God. It will take time to know from practice that God’s lap is always there for you to crawl up into uncondemned and abundantly loved. You will learn these things over time as you practice them repeatedly.
The Word will wash your thinking clean and that will in turn change your behavior. You relationship with Father God and Jesus will flourish and grow the more time you spend with them and someday the transformation will be close to complete.
There is something required of us. It isn’t to keep the law and follow the rules. It is to bury ourselves in the Word of God, surround ourselves with positive life giving friends and to spend as much time as possible with the Father in fellowship. We must be determined to allow the Holy Spirit full reign in our lives.
This is what it means to crucify the flesh. The flesh wants the law. It craves the law. The boundaries of the law make the flesh feel secure. The law is clear cut and requires no inner transformation. The flesh fights against time in the Word. It fights against time with the Father. It fights against meditating on the Word. It fights against wholesome godly relationships.
UNTIL the flesh begins to die and the spirit begins to rule. UNTIL the flesh is smaller than the spirit. But to get to that place we must feed our spirit with the Holy Spirit and the Word and deny our flesh the law. That which we feed will grow. At that point when the balance of power shifts, life truly does seem easier and life’s potholes seem fewer and smaller.
Tie a tourniquet around the law in your life today and open wide the window to the Sprit and breathe in deep. Feed on the Word and life in you will grow and you will one day stop and wonder, “Where did the potholes go”?
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