A Holy Lean
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”- Hebrews 6:19-20
We love our house! It’s hard to believe that next month will mark eleven years there. But with that many years under the same roof, our dear home has seen its fair share of wear and tear. One of the places that the toll is most evident is the backyard fence. Truth be told, it is pretty pitiful. Last year I noticed it leaning to such a degree, that anytime there was wind in the forecast, I watched and prayed hoping it would not completely collapse. Something had to be done, so with a brilliant idea from Joanie, I used a couple of nylon belts and hooks to connect the fence to two large trees. Upon fastening the hooks and cranking the belt, the fence immediately returned to a straight/upright position.
There were two keys for the project’s successful outcome. First and foremost, the fence needed something greater to be held up by. The trees we chose are enormous and easily able to take on the weight of the fence. The leaning places in our lives should be a signal that we need something stronger to build a lasting and life-giving foundation on. When we fasten our lives to Jesus Christ, we will find strength beyond the weakness, peace beyond the storm, hope beyond the present reality, and victory beyond the battle. When we are connected to the source of our faith, we will find that we stand taller and stronger during every adverse condition. Here are a few Scriptures that speak to what happens when we fasten our lives to God:
Jeremiah 17:7-8- “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Deuteronomy 30:20- “And that you love the lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life and the length of your days.”
John 15:5- “I am the Vine and you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Colossians 3:1-3- “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
The other key had to do with which part of the fence I latched the hooks into. I chose to fasten the hooks into the POSTS. If I would have placed the hooks into any of the individual planks/boards, they would not have been strong enough to stay connected to the tree. No matter how firm/solid the trees were, the planks/boards would have eventually pulled away and been dislodged from its connection. As I think about that choice, I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:16-17, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
When it comes to our lives and the places that we find ourselves leaning, unstable, and needing deeper roots of faith, it is of the utmost important where we fasten our hope to! I believe that there are several people who experience disappointment and feel distance from the Lord not because He has changed zip codes or let them down, rather they have tried to fasten to the “planks of life”. The planks represent pursuits that are temporal, fickle, immaterial, or carnal. The planks can be things like the type of job title or annual salary we make; wanting to be married before we are thirty; being chosen for a specific leadership position or role. Please understand there is nothing bad about wanting a good career, providing for our families, the desire to be married, and using our gifts/talents. The danger is placing expectations on them which are solely our definition of what happiness, success, and value is. Again, marriage is a good thing (a God thing), definitely a POST. But by putting an age deadline on when it will happen for us, we are essentially fastening that hope and desire onto a plank.
The Lord wants us to fasten our faith at the POSTS. The posts would be in things like a passion to obey God’s word, loving others well, being generous with our stuff, and demonstrating a nature marked by humility, kindness, and patience. Let’s find the entirety and complexity of our lives fastened to the foundation that is always firm. As Paul declares in Ephesians 2:19-22, “You are no longer foreigner and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”
In this Year of LIVING HOPE, let us choose those things that will strengthen our leaning places and last forever!