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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shifty or Stable

At my church we've been doing an ongoing study of Colossians. This passage is part of what we were looking at this week:
    And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:21-23 ESV)
This week was my wife's birthday, and that day saw the addition of a new member to our household: a brand-new Wii Fit Plus setup. To play the Wii Fit game, you use a device called a "balance board." The balance board is about a foot wide and about 20" long, about the size of a very large bathroom scale, and it interacts wirelessly with your Wii as you stand or walk or jump (or whatever else the game requires) on it. The Wii Fit Plus game is designed to help you burn calories and get in better shape, and it does a surprisingly good job at getting your heart rate up and getting you on the move. We've all been having a great time playing with the board... who knew working out could be so much fun?

Several of the games and tests in Wii Fit Plus are about balance. A crosshair appears on the screen, and a smaller area in the center is colored orange, and there is a red dot on the screen that moves as you shift your center of gravity. You would think that standing completely still would be quite easy, so getting the red dot centered in the cross-hairs would just be a matter of stepping up on the board and not falling off it!Burning off the pounds: 40/365photo © 2009 Sasha Wolff | more info (via: Wylio) You would be wrong. The first time you try to center that red dot, it requires immense effort to even get it into the orange zone, and almost as much effort to keep it there. It's even harder to keep it motionless. Apparently standing completely still, never shifting even an ounce of your weight from one foot to the other, requires a great deal more strength than it sounds like. We were able to do it, but it wasn't easy!

The more you practice, though, and the more you work out and gain more and more leg strength, the more and more stable you become. Even then, it's critically important to focus all of your attention on the dot. If you look over at someone in the room, your dot will move. If you relax and shift your weight, the dot will move. You have to dedicate yourself to keeping that dot still, and if you do and if you have the physical strength and endurance to do it, you can hold that dot in place.

Now look back up at Colossians 1:21-23 at the top of this post. Think about what it takes to remain "stable and steadfast" on the balance board, "not shifting" your weight to one side or the other. You have to be strong, and you have to remain focused. And that's what living a mature Christian life requires, also: you have to be strong (see Paul's prayer in verse 11), and you have to remain focused, "not shifting from the hope of the gospel." The hope of the Gospel is that God has changed us from people who are "alienated and hostile" to God, into people who are "reconciled" to God, and that one day He will present is to Him "holy and blameless and above reproach." The hope we remain focused on is that we no longer need be separated from God, but God has made a way for us to run into His arms. If you keep as your life focus that God has made a way for you to be with Him, on His side instead of camping out with His enemies, then you can grow, you can mature, and you can become strong as a Believer.

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