Pull from the Front; Push from the Back.

I was standing in my kitchen this week, just relaxing and drinking a cup of coffee, when I heard these words in my mind: “The forward momentum pulls the back up. The push from the back releases the forward momentum.” Sensing a divine origin to the thoughts, I began to ponder.

For several years I was an Assistant Pastor at a large church. I taught counseling classes along with doing my fair share of counseling, both individuals and married couples. One of the principles that I taught was: Discipleship makes counseling stick. Wonderful revelation and insight in the counseling room seemed to be lacking a consistent application in the lives of those seeking change. It is so vital that we “hit the ground running” when God has spoken truth and it’s “our move” to respond. Disciples, with the zeal of the Lord upon them, issue a daily mandate to their entire being: “Come on, we’re moving forward.” This is the forward momentum. When it seems to be hindered, we conclude that there must be a root system in our past in need of healing. The diagnosis often sounds like this: “He, or she, needs inner healing.”

Over the years the inner healing menu has expanded. When I was born again (1975) I was discipled well and ran hard after God. I read the word, fasted, prayed and served. In the early 80’s I became aware of inner healing materials. I devoured the books and teachings and discovered that God wanted access to the core of my being. Today’s menu might lead one to such names as: Sozo, Theophostic, Elijah House, Restoring the Foundations, etc…along with authors too numerous to mention. I have loved this journey and believe it is essential to find the right balance of growth in each particular season of our lives.

If we only focus on the forward momentum, being zealous disciples, we can produce a “showroom” Christianity. No one is allowed “in the back”, only in the front, polished display area. This is generally not a malicious posture, only an ignorant one. (Which, by the way, is not a negative word. It simply means “lacking knowledge or awareness in a particular area.” Nobody knows everything!) On the other hand, if we only focus on the healing of our past, we can produce a “hospital” Christianity. One liability of the first scenario is the well-meaning Pharisee. He’s in the kingdom, born again, but a bit religious and out of touch with his reality. The second scenario can breed the profile of the victim. “I’d love to run the race but I’m too wounded. I need more healing so that I can obey God.”

Thus I seek to always be at the helm, oarsmen rowing (my consecration) while catching the wind in my sails (Holy Spirit), to combine as a daily motivation for life. This forward momentum speaks hope to my reluctant wounded parts. Its like someone is throwing me a lifeline and when I give a healthy tug I realize that it’s solidly anchored. This is a path, I conclude, that is worth taking a risk to follow. In the meantime, when the Spirit calls me below deck, it’s time to listen and respond. Reaching my forward maximum and sensing a weight within that’s hindering my speed, I must be willing to follow my Liberator. He has come “to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Rather than deny my captivity I choose to embrace the rescue process even if it means a journey of painful participation for a season. Forgiveness looms large here (of others and self) as does the breaking of agreements with lies that we’ve believed for years. Not only has someone thrown me a rope, but they’ve picked me up and I’m being carried to safety. Weights removed, its “full speed ahead.” The spiritual disciplines have gained more muscle and I feel the strength and stamina to go “below deck” again when needed.

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