Today , since I am on vacation, I have invited a Guest author: Drew Anderson of Flower Mound, TX.
I will finish the conversation on Grieving asap… but Drew’s comments fit very nicely in with what we have been talking about so far!
August 8, 2011
This is a word that perhaps is experienced in some contexts of our lives, but perhaps more often than not, the degree of which is marginal
if not trivial. When was the last time we went without a meal (or for an extended period of time)? What about going to sleep at night hoping that
a malaria mosquito doesn’t bite you? Or that a thief doesn’t break in, because the law enforcement won’t respond in time to even offer slight
assistance, and you are your only protection? It only takes one look on Reuters.com to see the pictures across the world of the devastation/discomfort that the mass majority of people undergo on a daily basis.
Thus, physical pain or discomfort is a universal experience, but perhaps is unique to each person and circumstance. Moreover, some probably would agree that one can handle physical discomfort more than others; however, the question I have is, how often do we consider being uncomfortable as it relates to our spiritual life?
Let me explain.
In some contexts, physical pain (or discomfort) of strain or exertion can be enjoyable (at least in the long haul). Come on, how many
of us are in cross-fit, or training for a marathon or triathlon, or doing some sort of physical activity that brings discomfort (for the purpose of physical fitness, weight-gain or loss, or just well-being)?
From a young age, we have been taught to push our bodies; in fact, I would reckon that we feel weak if we don’t. It is easy for me to strap on my running shoes, hit the pavement in 100 degree weather and push my body to exhaustion. Seriously, most every time I train, I envision crossing the finish line of whatever race I’m training for, and it motivates me to continue; to press on despite the pain. Can you relate?
Interestingly enough, the Israelites (led by Joshua) looked forward to a line (if you will) that they had to cross, the Jordan River that is, before they entered the Promised Land. Their journey was certainly wrought with discomfort, but the day had arrived to enter into God’s promised property, and so they were ready. With the priests leading the charge, they stepped across the Jordan (which normally flows over its banks
during that time) on dry land.
Joshua 3:14-17 “So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant
before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.”
We, like the Israelites, as Christians, also have a river/line to cross, when we pass from this life into the glorious inheritance set for us in heaven. As the elect of God, His children, we too are awaiting our promised land with Him.
That river is our FINISH LINE. We, in all things we do, as Christians, will cross over the Jordan into God’s presence (2 Corinthians 5:8) when we die. What are you (myself included) doing to prepare for that day?
Let me lay out some thoughts for a spiritual training plan (I’m sure you could add to this list as well):
- Reading God’s Word daily – Joshua 1:8
- Daily praying to God for others and His will for my life – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Daily meditating and thanking Him for giving me life, breath, material things, etc. – Philippians 4:6,7
- Daily praying with my wife – 1 Peter 3:7
Continually serving my wife and family – Ephesians 5:25, Colossians 3:21
- Continually serving my Church and community – 1 Peter 4:10
- Regularly fasting – Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:12, Jonah 3:5-10, Matthew 6:16–18
- Always looking for ways to evangel – Acts 1:8
- Engaged in a discipleship relationship (both receiving and giving) – Matthew 18:19-20
- Living as a light in the world (orthopraxy) – Matthew 5:14-16
These are only some ideas (perhaps non-negotiable), but I would say that if this spiritual training plan is carried out in everyday life, it would cause discomfort. Is that a bad thing? Depends on how we view discomfort…physically it can be a good thing (as we discussed above), so perhaps it’s time we reconsider our level of spiritual comfort and trust God to prepare us for our finish line across the river.
For me, it starts early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, alone, the Bible in hand, journal and pen beside me, and un-interrupted
time with my Savior and Lord. Then I’m ready to approach the decadent world.
“A swelling Jordan rolls between,
A timid pilgrim I;
But grace shall order all the scene,
And Christ himself be nigh.
He shall roll back the foaming wave,
Command the channel dry;
No sting has death, no victory grave,
With Jesus in my eye.” –Author Unknown