I stumbled across this picture in one of those typical internet articles titled, ’50 People You Wish You Knew in Real Life”, in which the picture was captioned, “Whoever this very adventurous kid is…so you can go hiking with him”. I thought this was pretty funny, and instantly kind of wanted to go hiking with this guy.
Later in the week, I had come around to thinking about how awesome that kid was. You have to admit, he looks ridiculously fearless. His fist looks like a sign of him championing the river. He has no concern at all about the raft getting ripped to shreds, nor about falling out. He braves the front of the raft in the same manner that Achilles swept the hillside of Troy, and with the same ferocity that Mel Gibson displayed in waving the American flag in the epic battle against General Cornwallis in The Patriot. This kid is by all means, epic.
When I imagine sitting in the raft with the kid, let’s call him Zane, I imagine feeling like he is leading the way down the river. I also imagine feeling pumped up. Zane has got some crazy energy levels going on. Just look at the faces of the kids next to Zane, one looks extremely relaxed and unconcerned, while the other is also thoroughly excited. You couldn’t sit in a raft with Zane without feeling a little bit excited.
But, Zane is not controlling the raft. Zane actually has no control over the raft. Zane is entirely reliant upon his Father behind him, and of the other adults’ grueling work, for the raft to stay on course. Zane is doing nothing but taking the attention of his friends off of the obstacles ahead, and on the excitement of the adventure.
I want to be like Zane.
I imagine myself in the Kingdom of our Father, on a raft, barreling down a river. I imagine myself putting complete faith in my Father to take care of the raft, and of my course. I imagine carrying no fear or doubt about where I am going, nor how I am getting there: child-like faith. I imagine being entirely enthusiastic for no reason, other than that I am on the raft, and I am in front.
We are Family: Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
Zane has the ability to be an encourager and a leader; yet, he also realizes that his father can row the raft, and knows the way, much better than he. He is not concerned about where he is going. He is not looking at the people around him. He is simply, being.
We are Leaders: Ephesians 1:18-21, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
We are Encouragers: Proverbs 12:8, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”
For us, Zane’s motion of championing his hand is similar to our shouting the greatness of our Father, and praising Him for His mighty and all-encompassing wisdom and direction. Zane lives in the moment. He does not think about the wave he conquered 3 seconds ago, nor the wave that he is soon approaching. He is experiencing and responding to every passing moment.
We Struggle: Phillippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
This is how our lives should be:
- Our relationship with God should be so close and intense that we are experiencing it with Him — that we know he is there, and don’t even have to look over our shoulder to double check.
- We should be encouragers, leading those behind us — not taking the credit for paving the way, yet celebrating every moment of it.
- We give continual glory to God for our victories and accomplishments, big or small, and encourage those around us to experience this same phenomena: complete surrender and relationship with our Father.
We don’t have to pass out pamphlets to be an example. On the contrary, our demeanor and our smiles, our words of encouragement, our continual prayers and ongoing praises: these are the characteristics of leaders in our Father’s family. Zane leads without communicating. His actions speak victory and encourage those behind him to press forward without fear or constraint.
We Pray: Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We Conquer: Psalm 15:1-5, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”
How can we possibly be this fearless and exuberant in our lives? How can we practically become like Zane in our ability to lead and encourage others without words?
- Surrender everything to God. Show surrender by raising your hands.
- Pray to God and talk to him throughout the day for every occasion. Literally.
- Praise God for everything. Find reasons to praise God. This is the most liberating and joyful.
These three acts will transform and renew your mind and spirit. It will change the way you think, and the way you act. It will bring joy to your heart, and will give you leaning to encouraging those around you, even your enemies and oppressors. This will expand your love for people. You’ll find love for people whom you have never known. This will manifest a Kingdom mentality that will allow you to see the spiritual realm in new light. You will see you friends and co-workers as your family. You will find God at the center of every circumstance, which perpetuates your praises to Him and his revelations to you. So on and so forth. This is the mystery of God, which has been made known to us.
What is our response to this great revelation?
We Praise: Psalm 16:7-8, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
We Praise: Psalm 16:11, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
We Praise: Psalm 119:175-176, “Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.”