two paths in front of you…

“You must empty yourself of everything that fills you so you can be filled with everything in you that is empty”  St. Augustine

Reminded of that quote from Augustine – that must be done so that we can do this…

I must create, cultivate, prioritize, fight for a habitat where my soul can thrive                  

We live in a crazy time.  An insane pace.  iPhones rule our lives.  Average person in the U.S. touches his/her phone 2,600 times a day.  That’s about 3x a minute, all day, every day.  2 ½ hours on the phone.  Millennials are twice that = 5 hours a day.  1/3 of their waking time.  We process more information in a month than our great-grandparents did in a lifetime.  30 years ago, at work, there was no email, no text messages, no cell phones.  When we left work, we left it.  Not today.  Customers and your boss can get you 24/7.  You’re always “on” at work.

You were not meant to run at this pace with this much stuff demanding your time.

24-hour news bombards our life.  Think about this a second – our society has collided together the internet, twitter, facebook — plus — 24 news — plus — politics all into one very toxic formula.  Our nation picks sides and goes to war over politics.  We fight it out over social media and blogs and email chains.  These algorithms at Google and Facebook are designed to fill your news feeds with things that are going to tick you off – it’s true.  They know what you like and what tweaks you and they intentionally show you things to try and draw you into chaos.

You have that phone in your hand and here is what is coming at you all the time via your phone…

toxic mix

So, you and I have a choice to make.  We can stay on the chaotic ride that is this world and it will eat our lunch.  The world does not care about your soul and will do nothing to help you here.  Or — we can choose to get off this train and walk down the ancient path.

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”           Jeremiah 6:16

The verse says it – you’re not going to find rest for your soul in the madness of this world.  To find rest, you’re going to have to head down the ancient path.  If you want to live whole-hearted, you’re going to have to be intentional.  You have to make the choices to right size or soul-size your kingdom.  There are battles you don’t need to fight and work you can leave behind and demands you don’t have to meet.

There are two paths in front of us

One path is the mania of the world – the running, the going/going/going, deadlines to meet, exhaustion, iPhone addiction, coming home totally spent, not exercising, turning to beer and chips and junk food, looking to pornography for relief/escape, chasing status and comparing yourself to everyone else on Facebook and Instagram, never having enough time in the day.

The ancient path is  – disengagement, letting go, releasing, slowing your pace.  Not feeling like you must keep up with everyone else.  Sabbath.  Fasting.  Praying with intention.  Surrendering.  Making time outdoors a priority.  Starting the practice of simplicity and giving away.  Serving others. 

This spring we’re going to push in deeper to what that means.  What it means to be an apprentice of Jesus. 

To be an apprentice of Jesus is to organize your life around 3 goals…

  1.             Be with Jesus
  2.             Become like Jesus
  3.             Do what Jesus did

If you summarize those into one thing, it is transformation.  Our goal is to be transformed by Jesus – not the world – but by Jesus.  Paul talked about running a race in such a way to get a prize.  To train.  To strike a blow to his body to tame it.  Like training to run a race or to box … it takes practice.  Paul said in Acts, “My only aim is to finish the race” and in 1 Timothy 6:12 said, “Fight the good fight”.

It is discipline.  Practice.  Immersion.  It is “becoming an apprentice” … an under-study, a student.  It is learning.  Watching.  Emulating.

Next post, I will speak to this … The more you do something, the more you want to do it.  We are what we do.

We’re going to heading down that ancient path to learn how Jesus did things and why He did them.  We’re going to hang out with Jesus and learn his way.  Since we are what we do — we’re going to learn to do what Jesus did.