Although spring doesn’t officially start for another three weeks (Tuesday, March 20) hints of its arrival are everywhere. The local news reports from the Pirates’ training camp in Florida remind us that warmer days are not far off. I saw my first robin last week. A sure sign. And who can deny those pangs of anticipation that accompany the occasional fifty-plus degree day.
Yes, signs of spring are all around us. Some people still act as though they’re living in the Nordic tundra. Have you noticed? The sun is shining, birds sing, a warm breeze embraces your face when you notice someone bundled up like an arctic explorer, ready for the harsh elements stride with authority along city streets toward their frozen destination. They cling to winter with every fiber of their puffy down coat. Some people have a hard time letting go of the past even if the future is more bright.
Discipleship, in some ways, means letting go of the past even when holding on to the winter of your discontent comes naturally. Old roots of anger have a way of tangling around the regenerate heart. It takes only a little encouragement for them to spring to life. Sins you thought were shed long ago are triggered by stress, disappointment or boredom. Two steps forward, one step back is the dance of the disciple. Just when you think you’re walking in His steps you stumble.
The Bible offers dance lessons. It is a record of men and women learning to stay in step with the Lord. Not too fast, not too slow, but synchronized to the music of His perfect will. Some of us seem more coordinated than others but everyone that moves to the tune of God’s Word must learn the lesson of following His lead. We cannot follow Him while hanging on to anchors of the past. That’s it. Jesus put it this way, ” . . . ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'” (Luke 9:62) Paul encourages us on this point, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) Scripture leaves no wiggle room for Christ-followers to remain bound or burdened by their past. We cannot excuse ungodly behavior today on former circumstances. The Bible never justifies sin. It teaches justification from sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Jesus invites us to move when He moves and be still when He is still. This is the dance of the disciple. Follow His lead. It is a complex waltz of ups, downs, the occasional spin and spill. These are graceful moves when we follow Him. “Dance with Jesus . . . dance with Jesus . . . dance with Jesus . . . and live! (Chris Rice, Untitled Hymn)