Better Hurry Up…!

I love print cartoon images. I still look for them each weekend in our local paper. We have some of the greats like “Peanuts” by Schultz and Larson has done “The Far Side.” There are hundreds of classics that have survived the changes of life and impacted countless generations of readers – myself included.

Throughout their existence, print cartoons – even political humored one – always seem connect with a very real issue.

One of my favorites has always been, and will always be, “Calvin & Hobbes” by Will Watterson. His humor included politics, family life and satire in these two specific characters, following the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his stuffed tiger. At one point, it is said, that this comic strip was in over 2,400 newspapers weekly. I am one of the millions of people who own some of the books that have collections of this comic in them. Calvin was said to be named after pastor John Calvin and Hobbes was named after the 17th century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.

Hobbes was just a stuffed animal. But to Calvin, he was very real. Perhaps that ‘little guy’ inside of me still resonates with that view on life and all of the issues that were examined through this lens.

Many of the issues that Calvin and Hobbes faced, are issues we have faced as well. Whether that be in our past, or even in our current reality.


Within each of us is a competing nature: adventure and risk vs. logic and reality. Some of us go through life so unbalanced that we find ourselves up a ladder and even with a friend/spectator cheering us on – completely disconnected from the truth. We may even have someone in the distance speaking objective truth to us…but we are razor focused on what we think or perceive to be the best decision possible. And, we hurry up and jump!

Scripture, in Romans 8, it starts off with a powerful truth: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” And yet, far too many of us find ourselves up a ladder, ready to ignore all the realities around us, and and we go out and make choices that keep us from walking in the power of the life-giving Spirit of God.

Many seemed doomed to repeat past mistakes. Bad habits drive us and making a poor choice is often fueled by not only what is easiest in the moment, but also fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pleasing others. Fear of being found out. Verse 15 of Romans 8 says: “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.” The battle that can rage within us to climb the ladder and jump into danger before we actually stop and listen to what God the Father is saying for us to do, is very real.

So what can you do? Romans 7:21 and following says: I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

First, we must stop and listen. And in doing this, we need to know who we are listening to. At some point, Calvin is only tuned into Hobbes. And well Hobbes, his only wise statement is ‘hurry’ because the true voice of authority in life (a six year old boys parent) is saying ‘something’ and we can probably all guess what it was. STOP.

We have to stop listening to the wrong influences in our lives. All the self-help gurus in the world cannot compare to the answer we should all first seek: Jesus Christ our Lord. The heart of God has been perfectly revealed in His Holy Word. If the ladder we are climbing is leading us to something that contracts Jesus as the answer and away from His revealed promises within Scripture, then you must STOP. Ephesians 4:22-24 says: “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

In a message called “Put on the New Person” by Pastor John Piper, he teaches that “that THE KEY QUESTION for how to live the Christian life [is]: How do you think in such a way that God will be the creator of your thoughts? How do you feel in such a way that God will be the creator of your feelings? How do you act in such a way that God will be the creator of your actions? How do you put on a new person created by God?”

We can’t be a ‘hurry up’ people any longer. Rather, we need to be a people, so consumed with the goodness of God the Father, and so devoted to His Lordship in our lives, that we don’t move ahead of His sovereign working in us, and around us, and that we passionately wait on Him to reveal His ways by stoping, and asking the Holy Spirit of God what is truly controlling our motives in that moment.

You were made for this. To live this way. God’s way. Not in a ‘hurry up’ and do it myself kind of living. That is not walking in the power of life-giving Spirit of God. It might be in rhythm with man’s best. Or the world standards of success. But it is actually out of step with God. Ephesians 4, verse 10, says that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us…”

I’d rather know God, know His voice and climb the ladder with God – the ladder He purposed for me to climb – any day – then to keep climbing up my own-made ladders and doing life my own way. My best is often less fulfilling. Less joy-filled. It lacks. God’s best for me has always been more than I could ever imagine and provides for me in ways I didn’t even know I needed, until I exactly needed it.

So stop climbing those ladders you’ve placed in your life. Stop listening to things that oppose God’s Holy standards for Christlike living and start passionately waiting on His voice and resting in His promises for your life. As you wait, God is developing your character and you are able to grow spiritually in ways that meet current needs but also prepare you for future realities.

Another tool you will need: others – but, the right others. Ecclesiastes 4, verses 9 through 12 say: Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. You need to have the right people around you, and perhaps, below you on the ladder, that will counsel you correctly. Not someone who is just as blind to the truth, to the issues, as you are sometimes. Not those who only take from you – emotionally and such – but rather, those who are invested in a real relationship with you and who you know are personally connected to and walking in faithful obedience to God the Father. People you see alive in Christ and not just those who will tell you what you want to hear.

Everyone of us, as Disciples of Christ, should seek to live a life that glorifies God, and to live a life worth following – as we follow Christ. And, each of us should have true friendships with others who have purposed to live in the same way.

Stop listening to the wrong noises in this life. Be connected personally to God and His Word. Let God, be God, in your life. Let the Holy Word of God define truth and goodness. And, be connected with others in a healthy way that fulfills your pursuit of loving God, glorifying Him and making much of Him in your life each day.

setting an example

While I was on facebook the other day, a fb friend posted the lamest thing ever and what shocked me even more was all the comments their post got – in favor of what I found to be so lame and so very wrong. It left me asking myself some questions – not questions about why are we “friends” but questions about my their influence and impact over other people. And, that made me think about my influence and the example that I am setting as well.

More often than we’d like to admit we struggle with setting a goood example, or should I say, the right example – because we are fearful of how others respond. My friend posted their “lame comment” on facebook and so many others agreed, supported and thanked my friend for what they shared. But one did not – and that one person was mocked and made fun of for what they believed and how they responded. Eventually after several other posts, that one person with their different opion was met with something besides critcism & mockery. They were given a compliment by a mutual friend simply saying “I obviously don’t believe the same thing you do about this – and I do know what you believe – and everything you shared is definately true about you and because you live out what you say it gives me hope that what you say is could actually be true.”

Their example to just one person made a difference – because what they believed to be right and true, was something the lived out. They set an example to others about what they believed to be true. They pushed past any fear, rejection or criticism and they truly lived out what they believed to be true and the example they set was powerful enough to make a difference in the life of another person.

‘Anybody’ has the opportunity to influence ‘somebody’.

The example and influence we have on others is really important. We all end up influencing someone, in some way…

I believe that we have been created on purpose to be used by God to be an example to others and to see transformation and redemption happen in their lives. I am passionate about this. I believe that God wants to use your life to see others influenced and impacted for His glory. We have a calling on our lives to be great examples to others.

1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

I believe that right now even, Jesus is pointing His finger at you and is calling you to be a Kingdom of God influencer and example setter. Too many people do what is easiest and we just go along for the ride. Too many people are just along for the ride. You can set a life-changing and life-giving example to others!

Be an example in…

in what you say – your speech. With your words, be an example. With the things you say, be an influencer. Encourage & inspire; affirm and lift up. Choose this and live it out and you will be a radically different example amongst others in our world.

in the way you live – with your life. Develop healthy and postive expectations of your self and of others. Check your expectations and make goals for living a life that truly matters.

in your love – with your expression of love. May you be known for how you show God’s love and compassion towards others, not how judge their differences or short comings. Choose how you will be known to others by the way you choose to love them. Don’t confuse your version & vision of love for God’s love either or your example will suffer.

in your faith – with your values & beliefs. Be passionate about sharing and living out your faith. Make spiritual growth a priority in your life and let God’s truth transform your life and your faith.

and your purity – with your identity in Christ. Each of us have tremendous value. Stop compromising who you truly are a choose to be guard your purity. The more self-champions of the pursuit of purity, the better. Be an example of your values and identiy in Christ as you set an example with your purity.

Develop these things in your life. Look for others in your life who are passionately serving God and others and watch their example. Watch their speech, the way they live, their expressions of love and how they grow in their faith and how they guard their purity. See how they are seeking God and look for ways to point others to the Lord as well. Form accountablity amongst others in regards to the examples you purpose to maintain.

God will meet you right where you are at and He will raise you up to be the example and influence He desires you to be. We are not along for the ride. What happens in your community, at your job, and within your family can be influenced by your example. Be infectious with your example in what you say, how you live, the way you love, in your faith, and in your purity.

And when you live surrenderd to Jesus and you are example in your speech, with your life, in your love, by your faith and in your purity – you will be a tremendous example that others will choose to follow. Just remember – your example should point them to Jesus and be willing to say: follow me, as I follow Him!