On the up and up: the songs of ascent show that it ain’t over…
We all make our own fashion statement. Some are more adept at it than others. We often pile on the accessories in hopes of elevating our outward appearance. It happens in our spiritual life, too. But Jesus isn’t an accessory. He’s the whole wardrobe. Come discover what that means.
The “I” pronoun has disappeared in favor of “us” and “we.” Instead of asserting his rights – rights he was born into and rights he earned – the disappearing “I” pronoun shows he is instead relinquishing them. A psalm that could be about his personal religion instead becomes a song about our collective faith.
Hear this: you will sprain your ankle. You will have difficulties. You will have trauma. But what Psalm 121 promises is that as you anchor yourself, not to your truth but to his, as you are not true to yourself but you are true to God, none of the bad things that happen to you has separating power between you and God. The Maker is the Protector…not necessarily in the immediate but always in the ultimate!
Anyway, several months ago I was in one of these meetings – probably 40 people there – admiring the raw spirituality of the environment, when during the sharing time a man says, “We don’t have a drinking PROBLEM. We have a drinking SOLUTION. We’ve got all kinds of problems – marriage, parents, self-esteem, and money – and what we all have in common in this room is that our SOLUTION to those problems was to drink them away!” And I thought, “I may have just heard the single most brilliant insight into anything, anywhere in my life.”
The rise of the internet has created a perfect storm for growing numbers of men to become addicted. It is available. It is anonymous. I suspect no other generation of men – or their pastors – had such a collision of forces that are the same time both irresistible and destructive.
And when you’re on death row, you’re not really concerned with trivial pursuits, are you? Paul wasn’t dwelling on trivialities; he was dialed into eternities. That’s why it was particularly devastating for Demas to desert him. Because look at what Demas did: he loved this present world – its comfort, safety, and reputation – and in so doing ignored the next one. And Paul, who because he is on death row is dwelling on eternities more than at any other time in his life, knows something deadly: Demas has sacrificed what is eternal on the altar of what is trivial.