Do you know what the most common word in the English language is? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not is or and. The most common word in the English language is ‘the’. Such a little word…but it has so much importance in every conversation we have. Try having a conversation without using the word ‘the’. Let me know how that works out for you.
I was thinking of other little powerful words in the English language and got stuck on the word ‘if’. Have you ever thought about how powerful ‘if’ can be? It sets the tone for so much of life –
‘I’ll do that IF you do this…’
‘IF this happens then…’
‘IF only I hadn’t done that…’
IF, IF, IF…do you ever wonder how many people ate stalled in their life waiting for the ‘if’ to be answered? Their decisions and life have become contingent on something happening…something might not ever happen.
I think of the virgins waiting for the bridegroom. I’m sure those who ran out of oil thought to themselves ‘if only he had come sooner’ or ‘if only the others had shared their oil’. They probably could successfully (in their minds) place the blame for their missing the wedding on the others invovled. All it took was the proper application of the word ‘if’ – pretty powerful word. It can change the reality of a situation…but typically not for the better. ‘IF’ can tie people to the past wishing they had done something different or that someone else had done something different…’IF’ doesn’t change anything – it actually creates a bondage of a false hope for changing the past. Now I’m not advocating merely moving on from the past without learning from it, but there is a difference from learning from the past and hoping to change it.
I think instead of focusing on ‘IF’ we need to spend more time on ‘IS’. ‘IS’ isn’t always peasent – because often we have to face the reality of a situation and admit out errors or things we need to grow in. ‘IS’ is the first step to freedom because it’s a step towards ‘real’.
One of the things that hinders us from moving beyond the past is our ability to see where God has us now. In order to that we have to live in ‘IS’ not ‘IF’.