Saturday, July 9, 2016

throw away the extension cord

The Word for today:
Colossians 2:8-23
You and I probably don't have the same problems, but we have the same solution.
I am profane, impatient, intellectually arrogant; and the list goes on. You are this, that, and the other thing; and the list goes on. So how can we have a common solution to different problems?
Because God bet everything he had on Jesus. There was no backup plan. There was no contingency plan. There is no Plan B.
What that means for us today is that we don't have to examine our problems, because in the equation of life our problems are a constant; we can label any problem 'X'.
The question then becomes, How do we solve X? The answer is Jesus.
I am well aware that this sounds so obvious that it scarcely deserves mention. But if we truly review our lives, we will see that oftentimes we -- who believe Jesus is all-sufficient, that he is all in all -- are still attempting to solve X with a plan B.
Don't do it! Paul warns against so-called solutions which -- though we dress them up in pious, religious-sounding jargon -- are really nothing more than re-treads of the world's useless ways:
"Let no one deceive you by fine-sounding arguments," which amount to nothing more than--
Legality -- "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day." (2:16)
Philosophy -- "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (2:8)
Mysticism -- "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions." (2:18)
Asceticism -- "'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (2:21-23)
All of this begs the question: If Jesus is the solution, how do I bring Jesus to my problem?
You don't bring Jesus to the problem. You don't even bring the problem to Jesus. What you do is bring yourself to Jesus. You stay close to real Power and you will begin to inhale, ingest, absorb, and reflect that power. His power rubs off, but only if you stay close enough to rub elbows and shoulders.
The disciples did not intellectually appropriate the transformative power of Jesus. They couldn't, because they weren't any smarter than we are. What happened was that they were in proximity, so close to Power that they didn't need an extension cord to plug in.
Power is not in an idea, or in a ritual, or in a to-do list. The only difference is in the relationship you have with the Difference-Maker. Jesus said it like this: "I am the Vine and you are the branches. Abide (remain) in me, because without me you can do nothing." (1)
So don't sign up for any program at your church that is going to change your life. There is no program. There is no shortcut.
God's only plan is for you to stay close to His Only Plan, His Only Son, His Only Only, His All in All. Just stay so close that you never need an extension cord. Stay close in all the tried and true ways:
listen to him through a whole-Bible program such as Stand in the Rain;
speak to him in prayer;
worship him with other believers;
serve him with the talents and gifts he has given you;
love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; (2)
trust him with all your heart. (3)
There is no shortcut. There is no program. There is no course. There is no method. There is no strategy. There is no Plan B.
There is Jesus.
(1) John 15:5; (2) Deuteronomy 6:5; (3) Proverbs 3:5

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