Back to normal...
Over the last year and half many of us have wanted to get back to “normal”. While the idea of going back to what we enjoyed before, the truth is this, if we always go back to what we knew before, or what we are comfortable with, we will never grow. Even if what we want to get back was a good thing, going back and not going forward is never a good thing. The other thing to consider is whatever was “normal” beforehand may not have been a good thing. So why do we have this overall desire to go back to “normal” or return to the way things were before? Because moving forward is almost never fun and requires discipline. In the movie “Meet the Robinsons” there is a line used throughout the movie, “keep moving forward”. This phrase is important for one main reason, no matter the failures or even success we must keep moving forward if we are going to have success. In Hebrews 12:11 the author writes “Now all discipline[a] seems to be painful at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace[b] to those who yield to it.[c]”. The word “discipline” here carries the idea of “correction, training, and even instruction (education). No matter your age we all know that there has never been a truer statement that “no correction/training and even instruction” is pleasant. We also know that going thru the process will produce a result in us or for us that in the end we will be glad that we went thru it. Think about this, when people want to get in shape, lose weight, or just be healthier, they will go to the gym and in many cases change their eating habits. Why? They have goal in mind, that want to get from where they are at now to where they want to be down the road. The only way to reach that goal is to “discipline/train” their bodies. They will work out as well as change their eating habits. When this process begins it is extremely painful (physically) and even mentally (pushing thru the physical pain) as well as training their mind to desire to eat differently. In the beginning it is tough but the more they workout, the more they eat healthier the easier it gets. Now of course this verse isn’t referring to physical pain, all though the idea physical training can be applied, but in this case, contextually, the author is referring more to the pain of growing spiritually. Just like the person wanting to get physically healthier will have to go thru some training, if we are wanting to grow spiritually, we too will have to go thru some training. This training could look like, fasting (yes actually denying your body food for a period of time). Additionally, this training could look like one opening up the scriptures and “consuming” them. After all The Word does say that “man shall not live by bread alone, but also on every word the proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). What about spending more time in prayer, and I don’t mean giving God your “to do list”, I’m talking about just spending time in His presence, with no agenda, just thanking Him for who He is and what He has done, and just “simply” worshiping Him. These things, and others I’m sure, are opportunities for us to “discipline/train” ourselves, and while at times they won’t seem pleasant (ie. giving up food), we know in the long run it will be something that will not only bless us but make us stronger. So be encouraged that as you discipline/train your physical body to grow spiritually, if you keep moving forward, not giving up, over a period of time you will find yourself stronger spiritually so that when the next storm comes you will find yourself trusting God easier than compared to the last time. Much love, Pastor Michael