“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Col.3: 2
Apostle Paul, according to his jealous opponents, vacillated in doing what he promised to do. (II Cor.1: 17-20) Creating an impression of a wishy-washy man without integrity or trustworthiness was their aim. Someone you couldn’t count on to keep his word. Of course, nothing could be less true about a man like Paul. He was the most steadfast and non-compromising man that ever lived! The real problem for these backbiting destructive enemies was Paul’s message of the new covenant. They couldn’t stand his message and his life of liberty in Christ. A person who is freed from sin and walks in the Spirit is repugnant to those who are still bound by the law of sin and death. Freedom, sweet freedom, is like glaring sunlight to septic tank dwelling cockroaches – unbearable! It is the liberty to be flexible by living for God and not being bound by any earthly affections.
Most people run on a track set by Satan. It is the broad path that leads to destruction. Consider what truly is this “broad path”. What does it look like? How is it identified? According to Christ, the vast majority is blindly following blind guides on this path to hell. Being conformed to this world takes no effort at all. It is the natural way of fleshly existence -going with the flow, “merrily, merrily gently down the stream.” Yet life like this is not a dream, but ends in a horrendous nightmare called eternal damnation. Incredibly, most people feel apathetic about their fate, trusting in blind luck to be admitted to heaven, which they call God’s love and grace. Living lives in conformity with the standards around them, set by fallen men, they nevertheless feel secure in being “normal”. There’s only apparent safety in numbers. The hungry mall of the bottomless pit is big enough to swallow millions with ease
Flexibility is the ability to take control of one’s life and choose spiritual things above material things. Spiritual men are always endeavoring to balance their activities to reflect their priority to serve Christ. Thus many times they will change their minds and habits rather than continue on a less productive path. As they grow in understanding and spiritual maturity, their life changes. Increasingly they let go of carnal pursuits and take on more lasting goals, such as doing Bible studies, attending preaching rallies, prayer meetings and reading Scriptures. This will often set them at odds with their families and friends, who care not for such fanatical religious devotion, as they see it. A little religion is good for anybody, but not too much, protest these spiritual midgets.
One who is free from control by Satan’s dangling carrot sticks of pleasures and profit -such as social promotion, influential friends, power over other, etc.- is a flexible fella. He sets a straight course to what really interests him - which are really God’s interests. He pursues righteousness, peace, holiness and love with all men. Status-seeking, ladder- climbing, rat-racing, money-grubbing selfishness disgust him! Such a man stays far above all such foolishness, earnestly and quietly building up God’s eternal kingdom on earth, the church, like Noah building his ark.
It has been this writer’s personal philosophy through the years to leave room for the unexpected leading of the Holy Spirit. Reading the historical book of Acts, one is impressed by how many unexpected twists and turns, for them, occurred in the apostles lives. Of course, the Holy Spirit was not taken by surprise, but was actually working in and through all of these things to fulfill Christ’s last great command before ascension - to go into the entire world and make disciples.(Matt.28:18-19)
In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit, through unique opportunities and situations, will also lead each of us in special ways often over which we have no control. Its important to be willing to go anywhere and to do anything at anytime that God wants. “Here am I, Lord. Send me!” (Isa.6:9) Be watchful, and when the Lord opens a new door of ministry, be ready to immediately pass through it despite any apparent difficulties that many seem blocking that way. When the call came to the fishermen by the Sea of Galilee to follow Christ in full-time discipleship and leadership training, they “immediately” left their nets to follow him. (Mk1:15-19) They were flexible, and therefore free, to pursue spiritual things over physical things.
What about you, are you likewise ready to follow Christ to the ends of the earth no matter what? Do your personal goals outweigh God’s purpose for your life? Or does the puppet master, Satan, still jerk your chain with earthly things that can be changed by others? Cut the strings, puppet, and be free. You are not doomed to follow in the ruts made by millions of other slaves trudging hell’s broad path. You are free to rise up on wings like eagles. (Isa.40:31) God’ plan is that chickens become eagles, and learn to fly on spiritual wings doing spiritual things that bring eternal glory. The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom.14:17) But some, enemies of the Christ, serve their appetites and whose glory is in their shame, setting their minds on earthly things. (Phil.4:19) We must break the mold!
Flexible people motto is Carpe Diem – Seize the Day! The urgent must not replace the essential. Daily physical tasks do require much expenditure of time and energy. Yet God still expects us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This will mean much sacrifice and suffering for the faith of others. It means the continue nailing of our hides to the cross and giving up our golfing goals, our dreams of early retirement in Florida, or whatever currently motivates the humanist in us. We must flexibly follow the Master from glory to glory and victory to victory. (II Cor.3:18 & 2:14) Church meetings, camps, prayer times, Bible studies, hospital visits, mission trips, memory work and more will be the highlights of our days and weeks. We will increasingly give up all the things that the world holds valuable. Meal times will be missed. Sleep will be cut short. Vacations will be shorter and cheaper. Our clothes might even be second hands or Wal-Mart specials! Our family will not have the best of everything that the world provides. Our wives will not be given expensive, lavish gifts. We will deny ourselves and spend our time in helping others to heaven. This is all part of being flexible for Christ.
Trees must bend or break in strong winds. We must bend to the will of God or be broken. “Stiff-necked” is the term Stephen and the prophets of old concerning the Israelites who wanted material blessings above all else. Not us, God forbid! Be flexible.