Will Power

My life used to be based on will power. Holding things together by the force of my will. Keeping things under control by forethought, planning, and skill. But I was in a fairly regular pattern of anxiety and burnt out.

Jesus’ invitation is to a different kind of will power: ”I will” power. Saying “I will” in response to His leadership.

I still think ahead. I still plan. I still acquire and use skill. But now I know to take the time upfront to worship and catch His vision. And I am learning to stay tuned all along the way for His guidance and enablement.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
And lean not on your own understanding; 

In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
And He shall direct your paths (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV).

When I say, “I will,” in response to the Lord, I accomplish more with less “sweat.” I am beginning to live the way Jesus invited us to live:ballerina

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).

NEW YEAR’S DAY: In 2013 . . . I Hope You Dance!

PANNING FOR GOLD

Digging into Matthew 11:28-30

DancingHow do like the sound of this:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).

When I was in junior high, I took two years of music theory in conjunction with piano lessons. Part of each theory lesson involved sight reading some music, giving the right duration to each note. When the score was a jumble of sixteenth, eighth, and quarter notes with syncopation thrown in, I scrambled to force all the notes into the beat.

Later on, as a teacher I had students who displayed their sense of rhythm with pencil-tapping on their desks.

As a music student, I was forcing notes into a rhythm. My pencil tappers . . . well, their rhythms were spontaneous and unforced. They came from the inside. They are an example of “unforced rhythm” and also of “grace.”

Here are some things “grace” means:

  • gift
  • benefit
  • favor
  • liberality

That’s why, if you’ve hung around Christian churches much, you’ve probably heard that “grace” means the unmerited favor of God. It’s not something we can earn; God just gives it out of the goodness of his heart.

But there’s something else “grace” means:

  • the divine influence on the heart*

Hmm . . . We could paraphrase Jesus’ statement at the top of the page as: “Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Let me influence your heart. You will naturally begin living the way I do.”

In 2013, I hope you accomplish significant things God has set before you.

I hope you will welcome God’s grace to achieve them freely and lightly.

I hope you dance!

*I found these definitions of “grace” in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

 

A Personal Trainer

After Zumba class this morning, I overheard a conversation. One of the members of our class told our teacher she was interested in signing up with her as a personal trainer. However, she wasn’t sure she was fit enough to get started. Our teacher said if she was not mentally ready to begin she should wait, but as for physical fitness—that was not a problem. Personal trainers start their clients out from where they are.

Sweet! Couldn’t we all use a personal trainer in . . . any number of areas of our lives?

Maybe we have one. Remember the picture of Jesus in Revelation 3:20 (see Monday’s post, “Surprise Ending”)? He was eager to renew a personal relationship with his wandering “followers.”

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus extends a similar invitation to fellowship with him. This time, though, he promises that hanging out with him is like having a personal life coach. Here’s my favorite version (The Message Bible) of this passage:

“Are you tired? [Jesus speaking] Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 

Make It Personal 

  • Could you use some help with life? Re-read Jesus’ words above. Do you hear the willingness in his voice to be your personal trainer?
  • Have you tried church, bible reading, and praying but don’t seem to have much life or faith? Open your heart wider to Jesus himself. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Not “I will lead you to the life” but “I am the life.”