Have you seen those bumper stickers – What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?
I know. They’re kidding. Except that sometimes it turns out to be true.
In our Sunday morning kids’ worship (LiveWire), there’s a song we sometimes sing from one of our worship DVDs. It’s a Sunday School version of the Hokey Pokey by Ronnie Caldwell, and it goes something like this:
You put your whole self in
You pull your whole self out
You put your whole self in and
You shake it all about
You give your heart to Jesus and
He turns your life around.
That’s what it’s all about!
It makes for a fun kids song. We get to sing about Jesus and do a funky dance at the same time. What’s not to love?
The problem is that we grow up, and we become adult Christians, and some of us are still doing the spiritual Hokey Pokey. It goes something like this:
We put our whole selves in, or so we thought when we gave our hearts to Jesus. Then we get distracted by other things, and we pull our whole selves out. Then there’s a crisis, and we put our whole selves back in because life is shaking us all about. And we know that giving our hearts to Jesus was supposed to turn our lives around, but it feels like we didn’t get it right somewhere.
The thing is, we really were supposed to grow up spiritually as well as physically. There’s supposed to be some maturity, and the consistency that comes with it. In Isaiah 40, the voice in the wilderness proclaims that “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” before the glory of the Lord is revealed. We know that Jesus is Lord of the straight gate and narrow way, but somehow we never get our own ways straightened out before Him. This is because we can never hope to overcome our own weaknesses by our own power. That’s because (drum roll please) they’re our weaknesses. What we really need is to seek out His presence and the power that comes with it, and we will do that when we pursue Him all the time, and not just when we’re in trouble. You know what your preacher used to say when you were a kid about reading your Bible and praying every day? Yes, that still works.
So, let’s make up our minds, you and me, that we’re going to quit doing the Hokey Pokey. All that in and out is kid stuff. Besides, at my age, shaking it all about can get a little dangerous.