23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24 NIV
I’ve had some incredible experiences with God. You probably have too.
While they include different kinds of things, among mine are a few memorable “teaching moments”. You know, times when you learn something crucial that may even alter the course of your life.
They’re hopefully unforgettable lessons. They happen many different ways, and these moments are not all pleasant, necessarily, but all are profitable.
I’ll tell you about one such moment.
The Bike Ride
Yesterday I went for a bike ride about 18 miles. Since injuring my calf two weeks ago, this was a “light” test ride. As I puttered along, well-off my usual pace but happy to be back on my bike, I found myself thinking about how certain concepts in my book: Giants in the Marketplace, Davids in the Pew really impacted people, and others didn’t. Still others were only starting to.
One concept that seemed to attract great attention was something I call in the book TRUE IDENTITY: the way God sees you and identifies you, how HE regards you: the real-est you. Who you are to Him and what He says about you. Your name to Him. People struggle with this, and if you are one of them, you’re in good company. (More about that process of discovery another time.)
However, ironically, while writing the book, I had a profound experience where I sensed God whisper to me MY TRUE IDENTITY in a way I never before considered. Radically different than what I thought, yet somehow fitting. It shook, encouraged and amazed me all at once. (I had actually already been writing about True Identity for a good while, not knowing my biggest personal discovery was yet to come.) But this experience was so powerful and intimate that I have never told a single soul what transpired including my wife with whom I share everything (except this). Yet it changed everything profoundly.
For a while.
After that moment I much more boldly pursued the things in my heart regardless of “public” opinion. My True Identity made me feel good. It confirmed my purpose. It was like a compass to weather any storm. I pondered it for weeks and even months, many times moved to tears by remembering what I’d heard and experienced that day.
But then something happened I didn’t notice.
Now fast forward back to the bike ride for a second. As I thought about the impact of True Identity and people knowing theirs, my mind flashed to recalling mine. But what was once so central, so clear, I suddenly couldn’t recall, and I mentally panicked. I fought to open the memory bank where this important information was stored and couldn’t recall the combination. I was horrified.
“If I couldn’t even remember it now, was it even really right or had it ever happened? I thought. “Maybe I’d imagined it.”
Then I began to slowly remember, but it seemed distant, hard to grasp. Not the powerful, life-changing, intimate secret I had known. And then it hit me what had happened. I had caught a glimpse of my true self in the mirror and yet had forgotten what I looked like.
Something I had believed, sought, and contended to understand — something precious — that one day came to me, had all but been completely stolen on my watch; noone to blame but myself.
I just want to remind you today that you have already won many victories, but if you are not careful you can lose things that you have already won — adding considerable difficulty to moving forward. We’ve got to look and keep looking. If necessary, record things in such a way that you can go back if memory dims.
Game Changer #1:
Once you’ve gained ground, you must also work to hold onto it.
Do whatever is necessary to keep the spoils of important victories in view.
Lost anything you already won? Go back and get it today. Right now
pic from http://www.toddpylant.com