Tackling Transitions

Every transition (employment, geographic, relational etc) is an opportunity for the disciple to hold the hand of Jesus that little bit tighter.

This ‘seeking the Kingdom first’ stuff is well worked out in times of transition by making sure the “how am I pursuing Jesus in this next season?” question is the one that is definitely answered, even when so many other things (accommodation, finance, friendships etc) are also pressing us with their legitimate queries.

At both the heart level, “I’m set on seeking the Kingdom”, and down to the to do list level “I’m reading the Bible In One Year reading with my morning cuppa” – our Kingdom quest means these are non-negotiables in the time of transition, even as everything else fluctuates.

It’s so tempting in transition to fudge the Jesus question.  To postpone it, and avoid the practical answers, because life’s logistics just seem too pressing.  I think this is a mistake.

When tackling transition, target the true prize, especially when tempted not to.  Let the other chips fall where they will, concentrate on the King, and you might just find the lines fall for you in pleasant places.

Another Opportunity to Respond Well

Today = another opportunity to respond well to setback(s)

In some ways it’s an excruciating invitation (it might not count as a ‘setback’ if it isn’t).

But as we push again today, our ‘response to setbacks’ muscles will get that little bit stronger.

It’s a muscle that Yahweh really seems to value.

And, if we’re as serious about being a blessing to those around us as we say we are, it’s one of the main ones we’ll need to develop.

Talking to Yourself

Day after day disciple, we’re going to be dealing with difficult emotions as we walk this narrow road.

Along with sharing your problems (and so halving them), keeping healthy rhythms for life, seeking advice for the big ongoing issues…

You absolutely need to make use of the “preach to yourself” tactic.

David drills us on this.

Feeling lost and needy? You write the song, “The Lord’s my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Your emotions saying to you, ‘not really up for this today’? You say to them, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that’s within me, bless his holy name”.

Shortcuts looking sweet? Time to declare,”Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits”.

This is a weapon disciples have successfully made use of for millennia, don’t be shy about either reaching for it today, or making it a go-to strategy on an ongoing basis.

Usually Community, Occasionally Solitary

As our society is slowly but surely moving in precisely the opposite direction, it’s good for disciples to remind themselves that:

The scriptural testimony is that it’s good to have community life as our default (‘it’s not good for people to be alone’), punctuated occasionally by intentionally pursued solitude (‘come away with me for a while’).

Live with people, and get away every now and again.

Living alone, with the occasional public performance, doesn’t seem to be a desirable dynamic for the disciple.

Thriving in difficult circumstances

Is Jesus’ agenda for his disciples.

It’s life to the full, fountains of living water welling up from within, abundance like a fruitful tree planted by the stream – absolutely!

But his method for doing that isn’t normally to transplant you in to favourable circumstances.  To put the wind at your back, the stream at your side, and a crowd of cheerleaders singing your name.  To bring about fruitfulness and fulfilment through osmosis.  Not normally.

Rather, it’s streams… in the desert.  Feasts prepared… in the presence of our enemies. Incredible treasures… in jars of clay.  Shining like stars… in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation.  Blessedness… with accompanying persecution and slander.

This is the normal Christian life.

023 – Don’t Deliver Verdicts

Stop delivering verdicts about other’s perceived shortcomings.  Put your precious moral code to work on yourself primarily. Any scale of self-righteousness you use is going to boomerang back and kick you in the bum – with the exact strength you dealt it out.  Why are you so busy critiquing others, when you yourself have massive character flaws?  Crookedness that’s causing you really obvious problems!  You hypocrite! First, take a long look in the mirror, go hard at your own issues, only then might you have a fighting chance of seeing clearly enough to help others with their relatively minor muck ups.

Matthew 7:1-5 as part of the SAS project