God’s Red Bull

We are told to press in, and to reach. 

We’re to be energized by contact with God’s Spirit.  He fills us up, enables us to run full tilt, stretching and straining.  The muscles in the neck popping out, and lunging for the tape. This is Paul’s understanding of his daily walk.

Paul was an athlete in the Spirit.

These days, developing a spiritual athleticism would not be such a bad idea.  We live in a society where we sit and watch the NFL: there are 22 men on the field, desperately in need of rest, and they’re surrounded by 50,000 people desperately in need of exercise.  We have become a society of observers and that is a shame. 

God loves us, sent his only Son to die for us.  God sets us up with a energy-packed, Red Bull. And I respond with an anemic, 2% milk religion.  And that perhaps is the real tragedy.

There’s a real tendency for entropy as a follower of Jesus.  Things have a real tendency to wind down, and start moving in the opposite direction.  I think all of us can relate to the “Sunday Syndrome.” In this truly wonderful world of fellowship, worship and the Word we seem to come together.  Life is good on a Sunday morning.  And it should be.

But we wind down, and by Thursday we have sinned and compromised a hundred times or more.  Life is not good on a Thursday afternoon.  Because of our mental illness this degradation downward is usually worse.  We experience a whole lot of shame and guilt. And that poisons our spirits.  

Throw into the mix some depression, anxiety, or OCD and it makes consistency even harder.  It’s a challenge to maintain a credible Christian walk. It’s kind of the deflated feeling  four hours after downing three Red Bulls.

Paul, always an interesting fellow, described his own personal walk with Jesus in Philippians 3:10f. in the Message Bible.

10-11I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

 12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this…

...but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 

Can you really tap into all of that energy? 

Paul is downright aggressive here, he models a “muscular Christianity” that pushes through every obstacle, whether within or without.  Most of our translations use the word “work” when translating “effort”.  The Church fathers used the word “energy” instead.  There is a distinction. 

Energy, or “energize” denotes an outside source for power.  I energize my electric razor when I plug it in at night.  It takes a charge and runs accordingly on demand.

We are told to press in, and to reach. 

We’re to be energized by contact with God’s Spirit.  He fills us up, enables us to run full tilt, stretching and straining.  The muscles in the neck popping out, and lunging for the tape. This is Paul’s understanding of his daily walk.

Paul was an athlete in the Spirit.

These days, developing a spiritual athleticism would not be such a bad idea.  We live in a society where we sit and watch the NFL: there are 22 men on the field, desperately in need of rest, and they’re surrounded by 50,000 people desperately in need of exercise.  We have become a society of observers and that is a shame. 

God loves us, sent his only Son to die for us.  God sets us up with a energy-packed, Red Bull. And I respond with an anemic, 2% milk religion.  And that perhaps is the real tragedy.

The Real God-pleaser

pleasing-god-view

“Brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1, NLT

We live to pleasure God. This is the way of the Christian believer. It is one of the driving purposes of the remainder of our lives. Pleasing God is fundamental. We live to gladden His heart.

Jesus lived to please His Father. At His baptism, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17). And we read Jesus’ own words,  “And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29).

God was pleased with Jesus; He not once did a thing apart from His Father’s will. I’m certain Jesus could have– but He didn’t. Jesus the Son, always wanted to live a life that would make His Father proud.

In our own discipleship this level of piety and devotion “gets the hiccups.’ Things seldom run so smooth. Remember when you first tried to drive a stick shift. Down the street I went stalling and jumping and jerking. It was a miracle any of my passengers survived. But this is how you learn.

Paul wrote the Church in Thessalonica, “to live in such a way as to please God.” In spite of what you might think, this is the proper attitude of His servant. It is attainable and authentic way to live. Just as Jesus pleased God with the Holy Spirit, we too can be empowered to live a God-pleasing life. We do this through our faith.

The singular issue (it seems to me) is making right choices. I know many other things are involved in this, but saying ‘No’ to disobedience is a significant decision. And it’s just as important to say ‘Yes’ to our Father’s will. This ‘no-yes combination,’ fueled by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, will lead us to please the Lord.

I simply want to encourage you to be a ‘God-pleaser’ today. Just for today, live to bring Him joy. Charm Him. Ask God to fill you and then guide you through your busy day. He most definitely will.

aabryscript

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