Have you every felt like you were being pulled in so many directions that you were about to come apart? There is the pull of family, the pull of work, the pull of friends, and the pull of our social network to name just a few. Rather than attempt to identify the many forces that tug us this way or that, I want to consider just three that appear to be the headings under which all of life’s forces fall.
- The Downward Pull: Some people identify the downward pull as an impersonal influence such as ‘fate’. They consider it the ‘inevitable’ force that determines events in human life. In the days since Star Wars, we speak of the ‘Dark Side’ as such a force. Others see the pull as a personal force, one that is seeking our downfall. We use various names for this personal force such as the Devil, Satan, or as a Star Wars-type character like Darth Vader. The Bible teaches that Satan is a real person, a personal force, and he means to destroy us. The Scriptures say, “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 KJV).
- The Upward Pull: God is seeking to take hold of us and lift us to higher ground. When we resist His upward pull, we do so to the detriment of our own souls. When we become content with our personal achievements, complacent, smug, possessed with a sense of ‘having arrived’, we are headed for trouble. When we are filled with self-confidence and self-importance, we cease to feel or respond to the Lord’s upward pull. Deterioration quickly sets in and we drift further from the Lord, we backslide. The Apostle Paul presented the proper Christian view of upward pull when he said, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal and for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14 ESV).
- The Outward Pull: Depending on which of the first two pulls we yield to, it will determine the impact of the outward pull. Not only does the pull to which we give-in determine the trajectory of our own life, it impacts the lives of those around us.
- The Apostle Paul addresses the issue of the influence of the downward pull in his epistle to the Romans 14:15-18. The way we live and conduct ourselves has a major effect on those that surround us. He urges us, for example, “not to risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet. Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!” (Message Translation). What a concept ‘soul-poisoning’ is! To think, when we yield ourselves to the downward pull, we have such a detrimental influence on others.
- Paul’s excellent instruction to Titus concerning positive influence is a model for us all. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” (Titus 2:6 NKJ).
The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33 are so appropriate in this discussion, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (the upward pull), and all these things will be added to you.” The downward pull will lose it power over you and the outward pull will assume it’s proper place. We will no longer be pulled every which way. We will be going God’s way. May we hear the Lord say, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
~ Brother Roy