The sustainability of our new heartedness and fresh startedness is crucial to the successful Christian life.
Consider the sustainability of the king salmon in the Kenai river.
King Salmon are the Kenai and Kasilof River’s most treasured species. Not only are they the largest species in each of these watersheds, they’re the largest of their kind in the entire world! Because these fish are genetically unique, relatively rare, so important to our community, and extremely special, we put their sustainability at the top of our priority list. https://akfishology.com/king-salmon-policy/
The examples of non-sustainable new heart and fresh start adventures are too numerous to count.
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my love.
- For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…2 Timothy 4:10
- But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally. (On Christian Doctrine,27-28, Augustine)
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my desires.
- 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my receptivity to God and His word.
- 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Mark 4:15-19
The Apostle Paul asks you and me a pointed and penetrating question.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7
As Paul was concerned about the sustainability of the new heart and new start of the Galatians, he we mindful of himself.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27
God’s word is very clear, sustainability of my new heartedness and fresh startedness adventure is doable, likely and to be expected.
- 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20
- 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11
In the experience of two women, Naomi and Ruth, God reveals your four most crucial sustainability decisions.
A short version of the narrative is:
- There is a famine in Bethlehem.
- Elimelech moves cross culturally to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons.
- Elimelech suddenly dies. Naomi is now a widow.
- Their sons have married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
- Suddenly, both sons died too. Naomi is a widow who is childless. Orpah and Ruth are now widows.
- Naomi decides to move back to Bethlehem and encourages Orpah and Ruth to enjoy their Moabite lives.
- Orpah agrees.
- Ruth disagrees and reveals to us the four most crucial decisions every human being makes.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
|Ruth’s Statement||My Crucial Decision|
|For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.||With which persons will I journey and stay?|
|Your people shall be my people||Who will be my people?|
|and your God (shall be) my God||Who will be my God?|
|May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.||Will I fully commit to these decisions?|
With which persons will I journey and stay?
- The wise selection of my spouse and closest friends is crucial.
- 24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
- As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1
Who will be my people?
- The wise selection of my primary group or tribe or cohort is crucial.
- 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:25
- 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
- What would Daniel have been without Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
Who will be my God?
- The wise selection of God, as revealed in the Bible, is crucial.
- 14 “Now therefore fear the Lordand serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
Will I fully commit to these decisions?
- Have I developed the wisdom to courageously and loyally serve these three decisions?
- 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
- “And when Naomi saw that she was determined……”