Jesus invited us to a dance... and we’ve turned it into a march of soldiers, always checking to see if we’re doing it right and are in step and in line with the other soldiers. – Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom
Some time ago, I was watching a cross-country race. Individuals from several high schools were running their hearts out mile after mile. The leader, a kid who had maintained a strong lead throughout the course, was distancing himself from the pack. His stride was long and fluid – you could tell he was a natural runner. But as they rounded the curve on the last half-mile, he gave in to the temptation to check himself against the others, to see how he was doing. He turned his head, taking his eyes off the path before him, and looked back over his shoulder. Sure enough – it was almost in slow motion – his foot caught on a tree root at just the wrong time. His rhythm was thrown off. His stride crumpled. He stumbled and ended up losing his lead.
Any good running coach will tell you one of the keys to running the best race: Don’t look back.
Life in the body of Christ can be the same. Many of us have grown up marching. We’ve been marching for years – one marcher among thousands. When we look to our left, there’s marching. To our right? More marching. There have been marchers before us and behind us.
And then we hear the invitation to dance. Swept away by the music of the Spirit and the Word, at first we only have eyes for our dance partner. We’re learning the steps of the Spirit. We’re whirling in our freedom.
And then time passes. We start to look around. We compare our dancing to those around us who are still marching. We start to feel self-conscious. Is it possible we made a mistake? Absolutely not.
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? (Galatians 1:9-10a)
There is only one Gospel, one invitation to be free. Keep looking ahead, running in the Spirit according to the Truth of God’s Word. Legalism – like a tree’s roots – is waiting to trip you up. Don’t look back.
God, my thoughts get jumbled when I look around and see people I love still marching. But Your Word says I have the mind of Christ. There is one Gospel, one resurrection, whose promise dwells inside me. May Your wisdom forever guide me in the dance, away from lies that will trip me up. Amen.