kid running outside

Make Up Your Mind

Last weekend painted a vivid picture for me. My family gathered at our home to celebrate the birthday of my daughter-in-law. We spent time playing outside, finishing dinner, and enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful sunshine of Sunday afternoon. Our “back forty” is full of trees, critters, bugs, and a host of opportunities for exploring the “wilds” of the backyard.

But as tempting as those opportunities are, the toybox INSIDE the house is also full of exciting possibilities. So our youngest two grandkids kept going in and out of our back door, torn between exploring nature and the fun of battery-driven toys. Every few seconds, I would hear the door slam. So finally, I caught them and said, “It’s time to make up your mind. We are all playing outside and having fun and would love for you to be with us. But you keep going inside to check that out too. You have seen both places. Now make up your mind–inside or outside?”

I wonder if God feels that way about us. . .

We are relieved with the grace that has given us a NEW life in the flourishing design that He intended for us. But we also feel drawn toward the lesser life of the past. Sometimes it’s the genuine process of unlearning old habits, old thinking, old value systems as we invite the Holy Spirit deeper into our lives. But I also see a bit of my 4-year-old in the boundary testing we do INTENTIONALLY, seeing how far we can test God’s patience (just as my little grandson can test mine!) I love my grandsons and my granddaughter immensely, but I refuse to be a slave to their affection. Instead, I choose to be “fatherly” and guide them, setting boundaries for their safety and well-being. So when they cross a boundary, I am perfectly willing to invoke their anger at me because I enforce that boundary. It’s a truly loving choice.

Do we assume that God is somehow so needy that He would not do the same with us? I have NOT found that to be the case. Instead, my heavenly Father knows what’s best, has articulated what’s best, even commanded what’s best. If I choose to trust Him with my obedience, my life tends to flourish for one reason–His commands are true and good. But when I’m not sure of that trust, when I start to think I know better, God is perfectly justified to say to me, “Bruce, I have proven myself enough times to you for you to know. It’s time to make up your mind. Will you follow me, or will you try to be your own god?”
That’s the process that we call “sanctification.” It’s the journey of making up our minds to trust Him in way after way, choice after choice, action after action. We must make up our minds and step into obedient trust. When we don’t, we tend to face the painful consequences that He was helping us to avoid with his instruction. But He will allow us to face them if we so choose.

If the door between obedience and disobedience is constantly swinging in your life, maybe it’s time for you to have a soul-searching conversation with Jesus about your life and make up your mind!

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