Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 Corinthians 5:17
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:2
I was sitting on the doctor’s examination table... again. My whole life I have been a pretty healthy guy. Rick would be in soon to see what was going on with my heart rate. He has been our family doctor for decades, and I have literally trusted him with my life more than once. He has sewn up deep cuts and repaired a partially severed finger on one of my kids. He was by my side a few years ago when we figured out I caught an aggressive form of malaria while traveling in Africa. On that occasion, it was even money I’d be looking down from heaven by the end of the week, but Rick helped me through that one too.
He came in and we cycled through the standard pleasantries between a patient and a primary care physician, swapping stories like buddies do. Then Rick put the stethoscope on my chest. He must have just gotten it from the freezer or something. I took a startled breath as he leaned in and listened to my heartbeat. He asked about some of the symptoms I had been feeling, such as dizziness as soon as I stood up and shortness of breath just from going up the stairs. I mean, I am willing to confess I’m not the paragon of health, but I didn’t think these symptoms were normal for the shape I was in.
Rick usually has a good poker face, but not this time. I watched as he furrowed his brow and focused his attention even more on my heartbeat. The concern I saw was unmistakable. In a hurry he brought a bunch of equipment into the room, put patches and cables on my chest, and started making recordings. The tape coming out of the machine had squiggles on it like a seismograph. Had this been a lie detector machine in disguise, he would’ve had enough wires attached to really get the goods on me.
After Rick was done with his bevy of tests, he looked me square in the face and said my heart wasn’t beating the way it should. He rattled off some of the likely causes, and at the top of list was that serious case of malaria. I won’t go into details because I didn’t fully understand all Rick said, but I knew it wasn’t good news. In summary, my heart beat faster when I was sitting than some people when they were running a marathon. It also didn’t beat consistently...
Over the next several days, Rick got me appointments with some really smart cardiac specialists to confirm his findings and drill down on the core issues. After more freezing stethoscopes, wires, beeps, and furrowed brows, these experts said the only way to get my heart beating correctly again was to stop it momentarily and restart it with a huge electric jolt. You read that right. They would have to stop my... heart to help it find a new beat.
- Here’s my question for you: Would you do it?
Would you be willing to risk dying in order for your life to be more lasting? Would you risk everything for the chance to live your life more fully? That’s the kind of reset Jesus said following Him would entail. He told His friends it would be like dying and starting all over again. He said it would take something as drastic, invasive, and complete as a do-over to be fully His — undistracted by everything else.
We can all be new creations if we want to be.
The cold hard truth is most people don’t. We settle for the safe and distracted life we know rather than the one God has promised is available to us. Sure, we can agree that Jesus wants us to be new creations, but if we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ve got to admit there’s nothing new about it. A total reset isn’t easy, and it involves risk. Maybe an enormous tragedy or loss causes us to reset. Or a reset might be the result of making time to clear our minds in the morning. Find a new rhythm for your heart. Here is my simple suggestion:
- Decide in advance that you will do whatever it takes to get your heart right, and then do it — even if it will kill all previous versions of you.
You need to ask yourself what makes your heart beat in ways that make you stronger, more courageous, more giving, and more loving. Figure out what makes your heart skip a beat with joy and what makes it miss a beat with dysfunction and distraction. Be willing to change all of it if you need to. Our hearts all beat a little differently, and I’m glad they do. Some thump fast, and others thump slow. Things that instantly blow your hair back might be a yawn for someone else. What totally bores you could totally light up someone else. What makes you weep may not cause someone else to notice. Something that is no big deal to you could filet another to the bone. Be patient with each other when this happens. We all have a heart condition; it just shows itself in different ways. Someone who doesn’t know me might make assumptions about my heart without knowing what it’s actually doing. In the end, we’re all looking through a keyhole at eternity as we try to figure out our lives today. Don’t be distracted by how different you are from everyone else. Our hearts were meant to beat together, not the same.
If you want to dazzle heaven, stop being distracted being everyone else.
Go be you. Do anything less, and the unique gift God wrapped in you will never be fully opened. Jesus said a rich relationship with the Father is only possible by having a right relationship with each other. In other words, if we say we love God but don’t love the people He made, even the ones as weird and insecure and fallible as you and me, we have a heart condition we need to address. Don’t keep ignoring, medicating, or being indifferent to it. If you want to find a richer faith than the one you have right now, the fix isn’t more knowledge or arguments or distractions. Go be “one” with the people around you. You don’t need to get in their face to be in their lives. And don’t just pursue the easy people either. If you want to move up to the graduate level class in this, find the difficult people around you and be “one” with them too.
If you are thinking yikes about this new way of doing things, I’m right there with you, but it’s a new heartbeat I want, not more of the failing one I’ve ended up with.
Getting to a better place will require a restart.
Excerpted with permission from Undistracted by Bob Goff, copyright Bob Goff.
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Go be you for God's sake! You're the only you He made! Do you need a reset to get rid of all the distractions? What would that take? Come share with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily