No Change? No Growth
Day 10 – January 17, 2018
One of the most fun and exciting things I have ever done in my life happened a couple years ago when my son-in-law invited me and my sons to join him to go snowmobiling in Montana. We were on the most amazing trails for days, and flying across a tundra at sixty miles per hour…well, there is nothing like it. But there was this one moment…
There is no question that I was the biggest chicken in the group. I was the only person on the trip whose brain has fully developed, so I tended to sense danger more than the others. We heard about a mountain range that we could access, and apparently it was one of the best places to ride in all of Montana. The only catch was that you had to get your snowmobile over this real high ice-covered hill to access the mountain range. There was a short area at the bottom of the hill to get enough speed to get to the top of the hill. All the other guys were in front of me and ascended the hill with little difficulty. Apparently I did not get enough speed to make the climb, and I got almost to the peak of the hill when my snowmobile began to spin and lose traction. It started to slide back down the hill, and then went out of control. I jumped off the machine, and it rolled over top of me. I ended up in a ditch at the bottom of the hill with my ego and body bruised.
I called the guys on my cell phone and told them I would see them back at the lodge later. Most embarrassing was the fact that there was a snowmobile guide at the bottom of the hill with his young class of students saying, “You don’t want to do what that guy just did.” Then he looked at me and said, “You want me to teach you how to make that hill?” I couldn’t say no. All of these young punks were sitting there watching me. He said, “Go as fast as you can, and when your machine starts to slow down, stand up on it, and lean back hard and hit the throttle.” My highly developed brain was telling me that I was about to die. But those kids thought the old man would quit and go home crying. So I went for it. Almost everything I did in that climb was the opposite of what my feelings were telling me to do. But when I topped the hill, I acted like it was no big deal!
Here is the assignment that we all have from God’s Word. “So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy” (Ephesians 4:22-24 TEV)
The very first temptation that Satan tried to use against Jesus was the temptation to turn stones into bread. He was using the temptation to feel…lust of the flesh. It’s our ‘old self.’ But what God wants us to do is something that is totally opposite of our feelings. That is the ‘new self’, and it takes risk, pain and practice. I love what Rick Warrens says about this. “There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss; and there is no loss without pain.”
Remember, your character is the sum total of your habits. And there is only one way to develop the habits of a Christ-like character. It takes practice!