Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Palms Down or Palms Up

I don't know about everyone else, but I like to hold on to things. I like to have control over my life. I like stability and avoid uncertainty. I have found this to be true of most women--we tend to be nest-makers, while our men tend to be adventure-seekers. I believe that these desires are part of God's design, but like so many things can be manipulated by Satan to bring defeat into our lives.

I am reading The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges, which is proving to be an instrument that God is using to refine me and challenge me. I have been uniquely impacted by the concept of training in godliness. Coming from a rich athletic background, I have always been drawn to illustrations of physical training and how the same concepts apply to spiritual growth and training.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
--Hebrews 12:1-2
I want to run with endurance the race set before me, but I must first lay aside those things hold me back. This is so hard sometimes, letting go. Jerry Bridges states that one of the principles of training is the cost of commitment. He writes:

There is a price to godliness, and godliness is never on sale. It never comes cheaply or easily. The verb "train," which Paul deliberately chose, implies persevering, painstaking, diligent effort. He was well aware of the total commitment those young athletes made to win a crown that would not last. And as he thought of the crown that would last-the godliness that has value for all things, both in the present life and the life to some-he urged Timothy, and he urges us today, to make the kind of commitment necessary to train ourselves to be godly.

God is challenging me that I must make the choice, the commitment, to give up those things in my life that prevent me from running with endurance. I would take this a step further, to use the word surrender. With surrender there is a complete release or letting go. When we hold things palms up, we can always take them back. If you let go of something with palms down, once it is released, you can not hold on to it. This type of complete surrender is what is required of us. Are your palms facing up or down? Is there anything God is calling you to let go of, so that you may run with endurance the race He has set before you?


Kim said...

Absolutely true and so well written,Kelly! I am really enjoying the book as well...enjoying is one way to put it....mainly I am convicted on every page! But,it has been so very helpful and challenging for me.

Thanks for posting this!


Deidre said...

Challenging post, Kelly. I've got to read that book. I'm at a crossroads right now that I need to surrender. That's tough to do.

Thanks for posting!

erin said...

Thanks for the challenge! I needed that. God is making me aware of an area of my life where I need to lay a few things palm down.

Also, I loved your I am post. And, the Amazing Grace preview was. . . for lack of a better word - amazing!! I can't wait to see it!

momrn2 said...

What a wonderful challenge! May I be found... palms down!

Susanne said...

A very challenging post! And very well written.

Chris said...

It's the "persevering, painstaking, diligent effort" that keeps my palms up at times. I want godliness, but I am not always willing to pay the price of complete surrender.

I have read the Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges and it is also an excellent book.

Cyndi said...

This sounds like a book I would like to read. Okay, "like", "need to"... perhaps those words could be used interchangeably, LOL. Palms down makes me think of dropping it, at the foot of the cross. I loved this post, Kelly!

Mike said...

Great post. A great read.

On an unrelated topic: Perhaps you are right about most men being adveture-seekers. But you have to tell that to my wife, at least when it comes to dining out. I always order the same meal everytime.



Lisa writes... said...

If this posts twice, my apologies...I'm having internet issues!

Beautiful word picture of the palms down release--thanks for the challenging post!