It is possible to hit a tennis ball anywhere on the racquet and hope that it goes over the net. But there is a “sweet spot” on the racquet, a zone where the player hopes that the ball connects to that special spot for an optimum hit and return. Excellent players practice to make the ball consistently connect to that sweet spot. As I think about the Christian life, we have the choice to be average followers of Christ or to become passionate disciples. There is sweet spot where God’s gracious presence meets our holy desire and voluntary yieldedness. It is a place of deep connection and of breathtaking beauty. It is a place that is worthy of our consistent pursuit.
Statistics say that bad and hurtful memories are remembered easier and that happy ones are harder to remember. That means that it takes effort and intention to remember and count our blessings or else they soon become a distant memory or forgotten altogether. It pleases God when we remember His goodness to us over the past years of our lives and it is healing for us to go back and see how God was with us even in the painful memories. Let’s take the time to steward our memories well and also teach our children how to remember memories in a godly way. The ability to remember is a precious gift from God that should not be taken for granted. We never know when we may lose it or have it diminished with age or disease.
“…They (the wise men) went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. (Matt. 2: 9,10) How could a star bring such joy? Because it led to the place where they found the King. Following that star of light was a journey and a pathway that led to hope and joy and life. Not all stars lead to life and not all journeys we follow are life-giving. We need to honestly ask ourselves what we are following because what we are following determines what lies at the end of our journey. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 16:25), and following nothing will lead to nothing. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) What are you following?
If we choose to live our lives mindful of the huge debt that we owed, that we can never repay, and which has already been paid for us by mercy and grace, then we would be able to extend a lot more mercy and grace to those who owe us comparatively so much less. How can we not forgive so little when we ourselves have been forgiven so much?
Our capacity to consistently carry more of His presence increases when the sacred space within willingly enlarges to accommodate His occupancy. The more we surrender, the more we are filled. We become containers that start to take shape into His likeness, stretching into depth of soul and quality of character.
Confession admits that there is a weed in the garden. Remorse pulls it up. Repentance overturns the soil. Restitution plants a new seed. Forgiveness waters the soul and calls the spirit up to new life. Reconciliation celebrates new shoots.