Do you remember when you were a kid and you were faced with the decision to follow the crowd in doing something wrong or walk away and risk being alone?
How about this....do you remember the first time you climbed up the ladder to the high dive at the community swimming pool and stood on the edge of the diving board? You wanted to jump but found yourself torn between taking that final leap and walking back to the ladder afraid...you were torn.
In each of the cases mentioned above you were torn between what you wanted to do and what you felt like you needed to do...you were torn, you felt the tension inside of you.
Tension defined is to be stretched tight or a mental/emotional strain.
Fast forward from your childhood or teenage years and now you are an adult with real life responsibilities. You are working in a job that feels like it's a dead end and the atmosphere is toxic, you want to quit or look for another opportunity...however, you need the money, so you stay. You begin to look online for other job opportunities and suddenly you get an email that turns into an interview scheduled for next week. You go, the interview goes well and they offer you the job. You tell them that you will sleep on it or pray about it. What do you feel? Tension. It's like you're on the edge of that diving board all over again but this time there's more at stake. You're torn as you weigh the pros and cons of the new opportunity versus the old job that drives you crazy. While you are familiar with the old job and the people, the new opportunity has a lot of unknowns. The tension is real.
Walk a little further with me in this thought. You gave your life to Jesus Christ when you were a kid or maybe a teenager. You have attended church most of your life and have served the Lord in and through your local church. The pastor preaches a sermon on "the deeper life" with a challenge to step closer to the Lord in your walk. You begin to pray more often, you accepted the Bible reading challenge and your mind is being renewed like never before. You begin to notice that "some" things are beginning to change in your life and you know deep in your heart that God is doing something new and you're letting Him. Then, there it is again, you feel it, it's tension. The tension is real.
You feel the tension within your heart. You feel tension between who you are and who you could be, or perhaps tension between who you are and who you want to be. The tension is real. A part of you wants to step off of the diving board and jump into what God is doing, while the other side of you wants to walk back to the ladder and climb back down to where it it feels safer. Your flesh votes to walk back, the Spirit of God within you is saying "jump, the Lord will catch you". If you have small children, especially girls, Elsa in Frozen 2 would say "into the unknown".
God knows all things, we don't. We must walk by faith into what is unknown to us, but known to God. And part of walking into the unknown is trusting God with your life and allowing Him to help you become "who" He wants you to be.
This is why you and I feel tension when we are faced with taking steps toward God. We are torn between who we have always been and who God is leading us to become. If we feel no tension then we may have settled.
Following Jesus Christ is a life of change. It is a life of walking by faith and stepping into the will of God year after year. Believers make a conscious choice to either rubber stamp what has always been or allow God to carve out some new opportunities for us in this life. If we resist change then we are also resisting growth. The Lord living within a believer wants that believer to grow. The truth is, the life you and I live in Christ is suppose to be His, not ours.
The Apostle Paul in writing to the church in Galatia challenged this group of believers to walk by faith and not place their trust in their own works, but to submit to Christ who lives in them. Christ living within them would bring about a new life. In Galatia the believers were experiencing tension within themselves because they were trying to embrace the law and walk by faith. The tension was real. Paul then makes this statement in Galatians 2:20 declaring that Christ lives in him and his life was not his any longer.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20, NKJV
I hope you have made a decision to walk by faith with Jesus Christ. If so, know this, there will be tension. Your flesh will not like your decision. Your old habits will not like your decision. Some people you love will not like your decision. Know this, God will like your decision. He will help you with the tension you feel. He will help you become who He wants you to be...He is the one that knows what all you can be...He will help you get there one step at a time. So, if you are on the edge of the diving board and the Lord is saying jump....then jump! Coming from someone that has jumped on many occasions, I can tell you that you will not regret following the Lord. Don't retreat back to your former self, jump! A new life awaits you!