Saturday, January 25, 2014
Transitions: Triplets of Surrender – Following Him
As we have seen, everyone undergoes physical transitions throughout life. For those who place their trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), their spiritual transitions from death in sin to being born again (John 3:3-8) to abundant and eternal life (John 10:10; 3:16) are of infinitely greater significance than their physical transitions.
Once we hated God (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9; Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; Romans 1:30), loved darkness (John 3:19), and fed our fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11; Romans 8:5,13). Even after we are saved, we still have our sin nature and must contend with this evil lurking within (Romans 7:14-25). To be more like Christ, we must follow Him, meaning to obey Him (James 4:6-8), yield to His Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30), and emulate Him, or model our life after His (Philippians 3:10).
Just as God is love (1 John 4:8), light (1 John 1:5) and spirit (John 4:24), the child of God who follows Him begins to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2), walk in light (3 John 1:4), and walk in spirit (Romans 8:1,4; Galatians 5:16,25).
For God’s children, the transitions marking the milestones of spiritual growth define their Christian walk as they grow in wisdom, or knowledge of the truth (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18), holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Peter 3:11), and faith (2 Thessalonians 1:3; Jude 1:20).
We are saved by grace through faith, not by works, yet we are His workmanship, and He has saved us for a purpose (Ephesians 2:8-10). Accomplishing that purpose requires complete dependence on His guidance, direction and timing. It is like an intricate dance, following God’s lead (Matthew 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23) as He shows us what actions to take, where to go, and when to move or to wait (Psalm 27:14; 32:8; 37:34;119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6; 20:22).
The most difficult transition of our Christian walk may be from total self-reliance, to laying some gifts on His altar, to complete dependence on God. All good gifts come from Him (James 1:17) and our salvation was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23), so we must consecrate to Him, for His purpose, all our time, talents, and possessions. We must realize that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), so we must yield our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and that all things are then possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
Ballroom dancers with great technique and superb floorcraft will lose every competition if they dance off time. But even being on time to the music is no guarantee of good results if the dancers do the right steps with good musicality but at the wrong time, crashing into another couple because the man misjudged when he should move out or because the woman decided to step out on her own rather than to follow the man’s lead.
When our son first learned to ballroom dance at 5 years of age, his teacher explained that waltz music is counted as One-Two-Three (3 beats per measure) and that he should step out on beat One. After listening to the music for a while, he gave his teacher a puzzled look and said “But there are so many Ones in this song!”
And there are so many “Ones” in the music of life, so many tantalizing opportunities that seem right even if they may lead to death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). We think we know how to do the steps, which direction to head, and even how to follow the cues around us, but if we fail to listen to God’s perfect timing (Mark 1:15; Galatians 4:4, 1 Peter 5:6) we are doomed to failure.
Do we “follow our heart” (which is deceitful and wicked; Jeremiah 17:9) and ask God’s blessing on our plans after the fact, or do we pray first (1 Thessalonians 5:17), asking Him to show us not only what to do, but where and when to do it? (James 4:2-3) May we surrender completely to His will in yielding submission, anticipating the joy of fulfilling His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:5,9; Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:11) as He leads us through the dance of life into eternal life in Heaven!
© 2014 Laurie Collett