Posts that find “action at the end of distraction”.

Put on your new nature

by Larry Hehn on December 10, 2013

butterflyEarlier this year we renovated our bathroom.

The old shower head hung less than 6′ above the base of the tub. It wasn’t a problem for my wife, who fit comfortably underneath it. But I always had to crouch in the shower to keep my head from smashing into the low-hanging plumbing.

One of the first changes we made was to raise the shower head to 7′ high so I wouldn’t have to duck anymore.

The change has been liberating, to say the least.

I can now stand up straight and still have several inches of clearance between me and the shower head. Gone are the threats of bruises on my forehead and the need for sloppy posture.

But still, a few days ago, I caught myself crouching in the shower again.

I had fallen back into my old conditioning.

Even though the shower head is now well out of harm’s way and there’s no need for me to duck, I unconsciously went back to my old habit.

Yes, even when there’s no good reason to go there, sometimes we slip back into auto-pilot and find ourselves in a familiar rut.

In his letters, Paul had to remind the Colossians and Ephesians to “put on your new nature” – so they didn’t slip back into the old.

So don’t be surprised or discouraged if you catch yourself slumping back into your old default mode. Know that it’s a conscious, Spirit-led decision to put on your new nature and leave the old behind.

As John White says in The Fight, “Transformation is not an overnight matter. It takes a lifetime.”

Stand up tall, and put on your new nature.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. – Colossians 3:10

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:21-24

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:21-25a

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. – Romans 8:12-13


Taste and See

by Larry Hehn on August 29, 2013

taste and seeTaste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
– Psalm 34:8

Growing up, I had limited exposure to different varieties of food.

Dinner was usually some kind of meat, some kind of potato, and some kind of vegetable. Weekend lunch was often homemade chicken soup, or sometimes scrambled eggs with a side of baked beans.

I never saw (or heard of) a jalapeno until my late teens. The most “exotic” food I knew was lasagna.

I appreciate the thousands of meals my Mom lovingly prepared for me. I never went hungry, and was always pleased with her cooking, and especially her baking.

There was nothing wrong with the food I had growing up. But I had yet to experience the “big picture” of international cuisine.

Then I met my friend Tony.

Tony was born in Turkey. He had friends and relatives across the globe. He was familiar with all sorts of food I never knew existed.

A typical conversation at Tony’s house went something like this:

Tony: “Here, try this.”

Me: “What is it?”

Tony: “I’ll tell you when you’re done eating it.”

In other words, taste and see.

Wise move, Tony. I probably wouldn’t have eaten that beef tongue if I had known what it was ahead of time.

After meeting Tony, a whole new world of food was opened to me. I sampled the cuisine of many different cultures. I discovered – and enjoyed – flavors my palate had never known.

After doing the “taste and see” for myself, my perception of food gained a depth and character far beyond my original experience and expectations.

I think that’s the kind of thing David was talking about when he wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

I’ve encountered so many people who say they don’t want to have a thing to do with God or Jesus. But it never seems to be God or Jesus they have an issue with.

It’s their experience and expectations of Christianity that seem to be the deciding factor.

And, well, if your experience has been Westboro Baptist Church, the man in Taiwan who jumped into a zoo lion enclosure shouting, “Jesus will save you!” and other sorts of “Christians” who have been less than Christ-like, I can see how you might be a little leery.

But David is calling us to go deeper. He encourages us to go beyond our first impressions and really experience God firsthand. David assures us that when we do, we will find that he is good.

I never knew what I was missing until I got a taste for myself.

Why not taste and see?


Use It or Lose It

by Larry Hehn on August 16, 2013

use it or lose itMy legs used to be in pretty good shape. Until seven weeks ago, that is, when I injured my right hamstring at a softball game. I had to be helped off the field.

After four weeks of nursing the leg, I was able to walk without a limp. Today I can run (gingerly, at half speed and over very short distances) without any pain. I’m even back at the diamond once a week.

But the recovery is far from over.

I used to walk to and from my office twice a day on weekdays, a total of about 2-1/2 miles. But, after driving to and from work for the last few weeks instead, my legs are out of shape.

I can’t complete the walk at my normal speed without my leg getting stiff and sore. When I try to run at my usual speed or attempt any feats of strength or endurance, my legs turn to Jell-O.

It’s a classis case of Use It or Lose It.

It only takes a short time of not using your muscles, your mind, your talents – or even your money, according to Henry Ford – for them to start dwindling. I was amazed at how much and how quickly the strength and endurance in my legs faded with lack of use.

God has blessed us each with a unique blend of gifts, and we were meant to use them. Just like with my legs, it might surprise you how much and how quickly they can fade if you don’t.

What are your gifts, and how are you using them?

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” – Matthew 25:29

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” – Luke 8:18