Monday, May 20, 2013

Do it.

I am tired of being complacent. I am tired of thinking, "Well, I could make that person feel included. I could really make an effort to do well with this job. I could go out of my way to be kind. I could maintain my joy even when stressed-out. I could give up what I want for what they want. In theory, I could do what I know is right. But it would be hard. I really don't want to right now. I'm too weak."

As the hands and feet of Christ, called to be salt and light, made new, the beloved of the Lord, what am I talking about? Our own weakness is nothing to stop us. We cannot thwart God by being our own, weak selves. So let's not limit ourselves according to our weakness, but according to His strength. Which happens to be limitless. As Oswald Chambers put it in My Utmost for His Highest, "If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God's strength."

"Well, easier said than done." Yeah. I know. I know. And this is an excuse... how? Really, join me in contemplating this saying for a minute. We're admitting that whatever this thing that is "said" is true. Is right. And we aren't saying that it's impossible. We're just saying that doing it is harder than saying it. Clearly. But if it's true and right, and we know it, then why are we waiting to consider the difficulties of it?

(Photo credit.) Jason Bourne wants to know why you don't try as desperately to follow Christ as he tries to... um, not get killed. Yeah. Uh-huh. That's right. Listen to Jason Bourne.

Friends, can you give me one good reason why, completely certain that something is right, one ought to pause and take into account the difficulties of doing that thing, as if the difficulty somehow affected whether or not one was going to do it at all? Does the difficulty of a right action have any say in whether or not we give our all trying to do it? No. Of course not. So why do we act like it does? Why am I always pausing and reconsidering? Why complain about how hard it is? Jesus told us, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

The flow-chart is simple. "Is it right? ([No.] Then don't do it.) ([Yes.] Then do it.)" (I'm not talking about the times when the difficulty lies in figuring out which way is right. Such times exist, certainly, but I'm talking about the times when it's clear. When we know.) And if I don't reference how hard the right course might be, that isn't because I don't think it will be hard. It's because I think it's irrelevant.

The thing that I get stuck on most often in trying to do things is not the actual difficulty. It's the perception of it as difficult. I stare at a task, decide that it will be hard, and promptly balk. This is stupid. You decide what's right, cautiously, thoughtfully, and then you do it, even if it kills you.

And why be stingy with our love? Why not be recklessly caring? Why not be endlessly loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled? In other words, why not be what we're supposed to be? Why not be like Christ? Because it's hard? True, but that's no reason at all.

Because we can't actually attain to that perfection? Also true. And that too is no reason not to give our all.

Yes, it is hard. And we are wimps. So we'll fail. All. The. Time. But our failure isn't the point any more than our success is the point. And like the football player in Facing the Giants, we'll never know how far we can go unless we stop tracking our progress and forget about how hard it is. Let's not let a fear of failure keep us from giving everything we've got, from trying as hard as possible, shall we? The only real question is whether an action is right or wrong. Once we know that, we basically know what to do. Voices will spring up and tell us that the right thing will be hard, and that we don't want to do it. Why on earth would we listen to them?

It's not about you. It's not about what you can do, and it's certainly not about what you cannot do. So forget about yourself. Forget yourself and run. Run with all you've got for what is right and good and true and beautiful. In other words, for God.

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