I really like guitars, but I also really like my wife, who really likes not being broke. Buying new guitars and staying married (or at least not being broke), can sometimes mean selling old guitars. Saying goodbye to old ones, means saying hello to new ones.
Changing into my work uniform works a lot better if I first remove my pyjamas. Being ready for a new day, means leaving behind the night before.
When I first moved to Hobart, I missed Launceston, I wanted to hold on to my life up there, but my future was in Hobart, and I couldn’t stay in Launceston and also live in Hobart. I had to leave Launceston behind.
Stepping into a new era as a church is going to mean embracing change for each of us personally. It’s going to mean leaving some things behind. Lately, I’ve been asking myself what I need to leave behind to enter a new era?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT
The sin that trips us up will be different for all of us, but all of us have the same decision to make: will we leave it behind to step into a new era? This isn’t something that just happens; we need to make plans and be strategic. What determines your success at throwing off the things that would hold you back is what you plan to replace them with. Deciding not to do something is much harder to stick to than deciding to do something else instead.
Throw off gossip, take up kind words.
Throw off self-medication, take up supportive friendships and healthy habits.
Throw off bitterness and take up thankfulness.
Throw off laziness and take up discipline.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
God transforms us from one glory to the next glory. Transformation is a process of change. If we hold on to what God did years ago, living in ‘the glory days‘, we risk holding up the process of transformation, and missing out on the ‘ever increasing glory’ God wants to bring us into. Let’s not forget what God has done for us in the past, Rev 12:11 reminds us that “they (that’s us) have defeated him (our accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony”, but let’s always seek God for what he’s doing next. Where is the next victory? What’s the new ground to take? Where is God leading us right now?
“So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.’” Mark 7:5-8 NLT
Tradition isn’t inherently bad, but tradition for its own sake can distract us from the spiritual reality we live in; we miss the point! Some of the things I was taught growing up in a pretty conservative church environment were much more ‘man-made ideas’ than ‘commands from God’. Let’s measure everything we hear against God’s word, and throw out anything that doesn’t line up.
“This is all that I have learnt: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.” The simpler your faith in God is, the more robust and effective you will be. Don’t be weighed down!” Ecclesiastes 7:29
What are you leaving behind?