Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Some people get a lot of recognition at their high school graduation. I got a lot of recognition at my graduation practice. We were out on the athletic field one beautiful June day, lined up in the alphabetical order that we would be in at commencement. Now the idea is: listen to the familiar strains of that traditional graduation march, "Pomp and Circumstance," and march up to the platform in step with the music. Sounds easy enough. Sure, I was listening to the same music as everyone else, but I just had my own original cadence. So, all I can remember from that commencement rehearsal is the faculty coordinator yelling, "Hutchcraft! Will you please get in step!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Better Beat."

That cry that echoes from my graduation practice is actually a voice that every one of us hears throughout our lifetime. "Will you please get in step!?" It comes from your friends, your family, your culture, your coworkers, your boss - generally from the very people you want to please. The tune I heard that day in high school was the tune I should have been marching to. The tune you’re being asked to march to by your world may very well be a tune you should not get in step with - even though the whole class seems to be following it.

Our word for today from the Word of God is Romans 12:2. It follows God’s command to respond to His love by offering "your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship." Then verse 2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world." That’s the tune most people around you are marching to. "But be transformed by the renewing of your mind." God says, "I have a different beat for you to march to - a better beat." What happens when you march to the beat of the Heavenly Drummer? It says, "Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good, pleasing, and perfect will."

Living in "God’s will" is the goal of every Jesus-follower. It’s the best, most pleasing, most perfect way you can spend your years on planet earth. But there’s another beat, often much louder than the beat of God’s way of living, and most of the people around you are in step with it - often even other believers. But conforming to what we can call the world-beat, will ultimately cause you to miss how you were born to live, and what you were born to be - that’s God’s will.

I know you feel the pressure to conform to what the important people in your world expect you to be; expect you to do. The world-beat tells you what you have to do to have friends, to get ahead, to have what they call success, what they say is fun, what they say is normal. The world-beat says divorce is okay if things get tough, sex is okay if it’s love - even if there isn’t a lifetime commitment, security is a good job, a good income, money in the bank.

And then along comes the radical beat of the Lord Jesus, who has a totally different definition of success, of security, of fun, of "cool," of commitment, of love. And as you spend time with Him in His Book, He "renews your mind," replacing the cadence of world-think with His better-beat - eternity-think.

It may be that you’re missing the will of God right now because you haven’t taken the risk to leave the beat everyone around you says you should march to. And while they’re shouting to you, "Will you please get in step!?", your Savior is whispering to your heart, "Will you please get in step with Me?" Isn’t it time you stepped out and started marching to the beat you were created to follow?