The Unlikely Wisdom of T.I.
A week ago, I was on my treadmill doing my long run for this week’s half-marathon training. I was scheduled to run a mile more than I’ve ever run. As I entered that final mile, the song “Dead and Gone” by T.I. came on my iPod. [sorry for the video quality; there isn’t an official video of this song posted]
“The old me’s dead and gone.” Was the refrain ringing in my ears as I began to run farther than I ever had. I realized just how far I’ve come in the past couple of years and I felt that perhaps the old me really is dead and gone.
Unfortunately, I spend an awful lot of time running away from who I was. It’s all too easy to try and think that I can distance myself from my past by running harder, doing more. I told a friend recently that sometimes it feels as if there’s a wall closing in on me that I just have to keep ahead of.
If the old me is dead and gone, why am I running from it?
I preached on Philippians 2:12 & 13 for the third time in my preaching class a couple weeks ago and it’s amazing how I’ve continued to learn from that passage. I preached around the question, “Where is the new creation God promises when I still feel the same struggles?”
My final ah-ha moment that I presented is that the new creation comes through the process of working it out. Knowing what to do doesn’t change us, doing it does. Everything we do, we do humbly in light of the work God has done, is doing, and will complete in us.
There’s a shift that has to occur in my thinking. I can’t run from who I was and am; I must run towards who God is already shaping me to be (i.e. Christ-like). I can only find the strength to change by running towards Jesus.
“I turn my head to the East, I don’t see nobody by my side.
I turn to the West, still nobody in sight.
So I turn my head to the North, swallow that pill that they call pride
That old me’s dead and gone, but the new me will be all right”
In a season of resolutions to change, may our focus be on the one who continues to transform us. May he be our strength, our source, and our hope for lasting transformation.