Dance of Freedom

Psalm 17:4-5 (the message)
I’m not trying to get my way
     in the world’s way.
I’m trying to get your way,
     your Word’s way.
I’m staying on your trail;
     I’m putting one foot
In front of the other.
     I’m not giving up.

Yesterday morning, as I was driving to church, I was listening to the end of a local “news and views” type show on the radio.  As I listened to the views of the guest I was struck by a common thread in the political discourse in our country…being “moderate” or “middle of the road.”  In no way is this post about political views!  But what struck me was this idea that being moderate or middle of the road in your convictions is somehow good or better than being completely convinced and “all in.”  Let me be clear that being “all in” with your convictions is not about being unkind to others.  It is never about alienating others.  See, if we are really all in with Jesus what grows in our lives more than anything is love and truth.   But, to me, truth is not generally found in the middle.  The middle seems to often be a compromise…a fearful place where the opinions of man cause us to relegate our deepest convictions to the outer limits while we stay safely “moderate.” 

In the verses above, David declares he is not trying to get his way in the world’s way.  He is trying to get God’s way, His Word’s way.  David determines he is not giving up on God’s way…He is sticking to the course of truth.  I smile even thinking about David:  this smelly shepherd boy daring to confront the Philistine giant with a sling and a few small stones!  David, anointed to be the next King of Israel and yet chased into caves by a mad and insanely jealous King Saul.  David, the Fighter.  David, the musician.  David, the adulterer.  David, the broken.  David, the Psalmist.  David, a “man after God’s own heart.”  This morning as I think about David and the chronicle of his life in 1st and 2nd Samuel, I think of Him as a man “all in.”  Certainly there were times he was all in and on the wrong side of the road!  But I just don’t see Him, this leader and lover of God, as moderate in his passion and conviction for the God of Israel.  I am reminded as I write of David’s exuberant joy and dancing as he and his army brought home the Ark of the Covenant.  The Bible says He was leaping and dancing before God!  His wife, Michal, saw his display of worship and scorned him.  See, she was middle of the road…she was quite concerned with appearances and the opinions of others.  You know how David responded to her?  “David replied to Michal, In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want!  He chose me over your father and the rest of your family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel.  Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory–more recklessly even than this.  And as far as I’m concerned…I’ll gladly look like a fool…” (2Sam ch 6 the message)

The truth is in our culture  you are scorned and considered foolish if you are reckless in your worship…in your adoration and passion for Jesus.  I’m not talking about people holding up signs on tv that say evil and terrible things about those different from them.  That is not love.  I’m talking about getting out of the safety and comfort of moderate Christ-following.  I’m talking about deciding to go “all in” one way or the other.  Living a “middle of the road” Christian life is a miserable existence, really.  Warring on the inside is the unchanging truth of God against the fear of popular opinion.  And all the while we are missing the point!  Throwing our whole lot in with Jesus will bring more wisdom, love and freedom to our lives than safe, moderate religion ever will!  And once you taste freedom and the power and healing in the love of God, it will no longer matter what the Michals of your world think. 

See, the truth is that those around us yearn for something to be passionate about.  They need to see that our reckless worship is to the tune of grace…the nearness of Jesus…the incredible love and mercy of Creator.  We dance a dance of freedom…

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