I used to be more flexible. I really did…I promise. As a kid, I would sometimes watch TV in this upside-down-tripod-thing (I lived in the country…we had to be creative in how we entertained ourselves). In middle school and high school, it wasn’t any big deal to touch my toes. One of my nicknames was actually ‘stretch.’ Now I wasn’t king of the ‘sit and reach’ by any means, but I could at least touch my toes without groaning.
Now in my 30’s, I’ve noticed how that flexibility of a child or a teenager, isn’t quite there. For example, now when watching TV, I choose to sit in a chair or couch, and not the tripod thing. My knees thank me for such a decision. Can you relate at all? As we age, our flexibility naturally decreases.
Spiritually speaking, the longer we follow Jesus, the more prone we are to become inflexible, or as the Bible calls it stubborn or stiff-necked. Now that is not God’s design, but you see in Scripture, especially in the Israelites, how they were prone to say ‘yes’ to God in one season, but then say ‘no’ in the next season. And if we’re honest, we all have that same tendency in our lives.
In the disciples of Jesus, you see a different progression though. In their early years of following Jesus, their pride would often show up (i.e.: arguing about who is the best), but it seems that following the resurrection of Jesus, and His call to GO (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8), they had hearts that were more and more prone to being humble, teachable, and flexible before the Lord. They didn’t become perfect by any stretch, but you see a group of believers that had hearts that adapted and followed where the Lord led them.
As followers of Christ, there is a constant battle for the control of our hearts. Who will be Lord? Jesus or ourselves? God’s Word or our way? Humility in Christ or our pride? Ask yourself, “Is there an area of greater obedience, trust, faith, or devotion that the Lord is calling you to step out in, and you’re resisting?”
In our physical bodies, we fight against inflexibility with regular exercise and stretching. Spiritually speaking, we fight against the inflexibility with consistent time in God’s Word, prayer, and doing life in community. The Bible teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us for life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Prayer reveals our anxious thoughts and offensive ways (Psalm 139:23-24). In mutual community, we sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17) and spur one another toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
As a local Body of Christ, we want to remain flexible and be willing to adapt to whatever the Lord calls us to do. Right now, we’re in the midst of adapting to something new the Lord is calling us to…the launching of a second Sunday service.
The older we get as a church, the more prone we will be to become inflexible or unbendable, saying, “We’ve always done it this way.” For nearly 10 years though, we’ve been on this adventure as a church, and the Lord has caused us to bend and flex in different ways, and as a result, the Gospel is spreading, lives are changing, and He is getting the glory! So let’s not forget the flexibility of our ‘youth’ and may we continue to follow the Lord with humble hearts both as individuals and as a church…all for His glory and honor.