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Scripture: Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern  what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.”   Romans 12:2, NIV
Arise_ascend
    The word “descend” keeps coming to mind lately. Perhaps it is the pull of gravity, especially as I pass the couch. More likely, it came about as I was thinking about the flow of water in the streams in the mountains. There is something enticing about the gurgle of water lapping in eddies around boulders and through riffles as it makes it way, ever downward, toward the seas. Water descends until it reaches its lowest possible level. The downward journey takes it over and around rocks, through narrow canyons, at times twisting and turning and at times forming a still, calm pool. Not too unlike our life’s journey, I thought.
    Generally, though, we do not desire to descend on our life’s journey. Down is not the direction we usually think of as achieving the goal of heaven. No, we want to look up, to ascend. We read about Jesus  ascending to His Father in heaven. Up! That is the goal of choice. Yet it seems that the nature of mankind is a continual struggle against the downward pull to mankind’s baser nature.
    There is no question that sin exerts a pull that is every bit as strong as the force gravity has on water. Intended at creation to be in the image of God, how quickly, how completely, mankind succumbed to the downward pull of sin. From the heights of fellowship with God, Adam and his wife, Eve, were brought down by the lure of Satan. Their son, Cain, slew his brother, Able; the descent became so great that the Lord became sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  (Genesis 6:6)
    Water enters this allegory again; water was the means of cleansing the earth of the ungodly. Noah and his family were literally raised to the mountain top physically, if not spiritually.  In  any  event,  the descent into sin began anew. Fast forward to Moses and the Exodus:
    The Laws and Commandments were given on a mountain top as a guide that people might look upward toward God, and not descend again into sin. God’s very presence dwelt among the Hebrew people, the Israelites. His shekinah Glory and radiance filled the Tent of Meeting. The Mosaic laws provided for atonement through sacrifices, purifications, and washings, that sin might be purged and the heart purified, yet the descent continued.
    The water that trickles, rushes, and flows to that lower level, the great catch-basin of the ocean, begins in the form of rain or snow on the heights and the plains. Consider for a moment that the rain and snow comes from the seas and oceans themselves, a remarkable process that transforms the gravity-following water into a gravity-defying vapor that ascends into the heavens!
    And now, a leap in thinking . . .  In terms of that water cycle, is it possible for us to rise out of the depths to which we descend?
I think, “Yes!”  If, that is, we can overcome the pull of sin and be transformed with a new spirit that pulls us toward God.
    That transforming power comes from Jesus. There is no other name by which man can be saved (and ascend!)
    Do not be conformed to the oceans of sin; be transformed in spirit, and arise, ascend to that which is the good and acceptable will of God.

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