stop button

Hard Stop, Reset.

Technology is so much a part of our lives today that we don’t give it much thought until the computer crashes, the server goes down, or the smart phone malfunctions. Then we feel cut off from everyone and everything, without direction to continue functioning, and helpless to resolve the issue (unless we’re techies). When the problem can be fixed with a simple hard-stop and reset, we feel blessed and relieved.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our lives worked that way? I believe that is the goal behind many New Year’s resolutions. We need to force a stop to binging on sweets, snacks, and comfort food, then reset to healthy eating patterns. We could hard-stop frivolous spending and reset with a responsible budget. TV remote thumb exercise would hard-stop and reset with cardio at the gym. And so it would be with all the changes we should make for our own good. While it is fairly easy to identify these things, changing course can involve a lot of hard work. Ultimately, we must be convinced the effort is worth it.

Making changes in our spiritual lives can be even more challenging, as those things are easier to hide and/or ignore. So, for those of us gifted at burying our heads in the sand, how do we know when to hit reset? An obvious sign is when our feelings about life mirror our reactions to technology failures. Less obvious, but perhaps more important, is taking inventory of the fruit we’re producing in our daily lives. Do we treat others (especially our own families) with kindness and gentleness? Does everything we say and do flow out of love? Is there a sense of peace in our hearts and minds that allows us to be patient and self-controlled? Is our general demeanor characterized by joy and demonstrated with goodness? Are we faithful to our responsibilities, our families, and our Savior? (Gal 5:21) Because none of us can honestly check all those boxes, we are candidates for a spiritual reset.

God’s grace does not demand that we do this, but His love longs for it. Therefore, He made it simple: Jesus as the Power and the Way. Not only has Jesus redeemed our lives from eternal destruction, but He walks with us daily as the Lamp to our feet and the Light for our path. (Ps 119:105) Jesus’ self-description applies both to salvation and life: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:13-14) God Made His Son to be our Savior and Reset. God’s grace is sometimes seen in our lives by forcing a stop where our behavior is destructive. More often, He demonstrates His grace in NOT forcing a stop, leaving us to make the reset decision. When we do, the intensity of His reorientation usually necessitates we initiate the hard-stop to completely embrace it. The payoff is the amazing gift of abiding IN HIM where the fruit of our lives flows from Jesus, not us. The choice is ours. Is this Spiritual Reset worth the hard-stop to our agendas and busyness?