I was thinking last night about 'old lines' of thinking. How they hinder us and prevent us from accomplished what it is we set out to do.
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matt 5:29
This image along with the one that follows that involves your right hand is so graphic and yet it provides the right kind of urgency for the task. I must cut off my old value system and my old preferred methods. Nothing short of that will work because those old things will creep back in and cause offense.
Let's say I was right handed and wanted to learn to use my left hand instead. I could tie down my right arm so it was immobile. Then in time my left hand would grow stronger and stronger. There would still come a day when I would justify setting my right arm free. After all who wants to live with one are tied down. Which arm do you think I would soon favor again.
"And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." Acts 19:18-19
Burn baby... Burn! Toast a marshmallow over the old life. Celebrate the death of the old way and set your face like a flint. That way was complicated and expensive. Grace is simple and free.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Cor 8:9-12 ESV
God has given us things to do. It is good if we finish what we started. Christ has finished what He started on behalf of the welfare of others. Our new thinking brings us down new pathways but those pathways are not aimless. They involve giving and building. This life is no 'yoke of service' it is a life oriented away from self and lived in love.
"For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man." 2 Cor 8:21 ESV
In a way it is a bit shocking that Paul says this. He is clearly 'anti-world' in his teaching but not a separatist. Really God's goals are similar to men's loftiest desires. Spirituality allows us a method outside of our ability to function in the best of what men and women can do and be. That is not the goal of spirituality but it is a pleasant byproduct of it.
Spiritual people can have a tenacity that is unmatched by anyone. New thinking provides the renewal that the philosopher seeks but can never attain to.
At the core the message is 'Don't Quit!'
Don't quit letting God love you. Don't quit asking God for provision. Don't stop looking at the cross and letting it change you. Sing salvation songs even with tears in your eyes. Do the next thing. Think with God by letting Christ's mind in. Draw close to people who love Jesus. Have a vision and be part of a vision that will impact lives and communities.
We don't put the cart before the horse and life in works. That is a trap. We live in the application of freedom. We go with God. God isn't striving.
Burn the old books but let your life pen a new one and don't quit until the last chapter is written.
The thoughts you think are so important... Now and in the coming days and stretching into forever. Burn those old books and don't go looking for them on eBay later after you have some strength. Trade all the old self-talk in for the good news of what Christ has done and you will have a 'readiness that matches what you have.'