Not to skewer anyone, but you might be of a certain age if you’ve ever advanced a personal opinion employing the word, ‘new-fangled.’ Decidedly derogatory in meaning, the term conveys the idea of preposterously, or ostentatiously, modern; or maybe, simply, ‘not what I’m used to.’ The sentence containing the freighted word often begins with: “I will never…” If you feel a spotlight pivoting in your direction, you may also, like many of us (yes, yours truly included) be somewhat abashed to realize those were famous last words, and the ‘never’ has since come to pass. I’ve read about farmers refusing to be connected to electric power as lines were first being installed in their area. My mother was adamant, first about owning an automatic washing machine (the wringer washer was just fine, thank you!). Later, the much-loathed microwave oven! Or cars with automatic transmissions! Cordless phones! Cell phones – those computers once the size of entire buildings, now held in our hands! Seeing-eye doorbells! Talking refrigerators (still holding out)! And so many more! I hear Tevye singing “Tradition!” weakly, dejectedly, as he trudges off into the sunset.
The pressure to adapt, to keep up with the times, to not be a fuddy-duddy, is intense. Friends, family and peers, at times, add a layer of mild(?) coercion. Arguably, technological advances are good things, helpful things. But there are other forces intermingled with the benign which are less, um, clear. Spiritually, the combination of the whirlwind of ideologies, the strident, sometimes violent, demands of special rights groups, the jaundiced cultural view of God, the Church, the Bible, Christians, plus the niggling insistence of our own slightly dysfunctional selves, is like trying to make steady progress while slogging through ‘miry clay.’ Staying alert, staying focused, keeping the main thing the main thing, is a daily challenge for anyone striving to live the in-Christ life. I’m aware that ours in the 21st Century may not be a unique situation. My mind travels back to Psalm 121, (3,000 years ago) with the Psalmist pining: “I look up to the mountains and hills longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens the earth.” TPT.
Later, the Apostle Paul, too, related to our plight: “What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue… I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!” So, it’s true! We don’t have to lose heart! Jesus shares his inheritance with us! The Holy Spirit who indwells us, given the opportunity, will bushwhack all cultural and spiritual ‘jungles’ and lead us to victory! He will help us live with ‘hinds’ feet on high places’ (Habakkuk 3:19). He will fill our mouths with the sweetest heavenly words, the boldest words of knowledge and healing and deliverance. He will set in motion, for us, a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic words: “Those whom the Eternal One has recalled from a punishing exile… will… come waltzing to Zion, singing their way to that place of right relation to God. An aura of joy never-ending will attend them; they will clasp gladness and joy to their hearts, while sadness and despair evaporate into thin air.” 35:10 VOICE. Works for me! See you tomorrow, 10 AM, 4 PM, 6 PM. PD