Touch your nose to your elbow.
Been thinking about joining a yoga class. Maybe even a Tai Chi class too. I am discovering my aging body is rapidly losing flexibility. I notice stiff joints and aches that weren't present even a few months ago. I know muscles lose elasticity and will become weaker without a regular regimen of exercise and maintenance. Maybe I'll forego wearing the yoga pants for now though. *shudder*
I once heard a person say, "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken." Their statement sounded biblical to me but I was certain that scripture did not exist in the Bible. Well, it isn't word for word the same, however the verse below encompasses the same sentiment.
"A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. "
(Proverbs 29:1, NIV)
The proverb written by King Solomon was addressing people who had no respect for authority. One not willing to submit to authority will often rebell time after time until an incredible defeat occurs in their life. Tragic, in that, the defeat could have been prevented! Are there better responses to authority?
Maintaining a staunch and rigid approach to living can do more harm than good. Not exercising prudence when it is necessary or bluntly arguing with someone until we're blue in the face will often leave one broken. Enter the art of flexibility. What does it look like to replace stubbornness with discernment and grace?
First, when a person in authority speaks, it should be customary to listen to them. They are in that position because someone acknowledged their ability to lead. Second, after listening to that person in authority, consider their advice. Is the person manipulating us or trying to be helpful? Third, choose to follow the advice given. It is okay to ask questions in order to define the advice given.
Have there been times when we challenged the authority of another simply because we wanted our own way? I'm thinking we could all raise our hands to that question. If we challenge people in our circles of relationship, how much more do we challenge God? Reading through scripture can be a daunting task and the directives found there may corner us into our own little windowless and doorless room. We fight tooth and nail against what God is saying until we have nowhere else to go. Our flexibility, having never been strengthened, is about to be tested beyond its limits. Creak! Stretch! Snap! Ouch!
Practicing the art of preemptive stretching allows us to receive greater loads of instruction and correction. Stretching, in this case, would be us acknowledging God's sovereignty over us and allowing biblical authority to be our guide. Pursuing healthier ways of dealing with God's word might produce less backlash in the future. It's called obedience. Gaining knowledge of how God works in the world and how God works in our life should increase our trust. Trusting in God's faithfulness and goodness, as displayed throughout scripture, should strengthen our relationship with God. The knowledge 'pursuits' and trust 'growths' are synonymous with physically stretching muscles and ligaments. It is like manipulating joints and spinal alignments. These exercises are beneficial for healthier responses to stress and trials when they come. Not 'if' they come but 'when' they come.
Today, do some light stretching. Limber up your arms and legs. Soften your heart. Seek God's advice and listen with growing trust to the one who said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Jesus)