The lifting-up difference

A version in German will come shortly.

I think that everybody goes about daily tasks which make us reflect on life in general. Very often it is my interaction with plants and nature – other living things – that sets off my thinking.

One lesson and learning comes from one of my favourite activities in July-August, visiting the (Swedish) forest to pick blueberries. Every year I’m reminded of the same thing: Lift them up, and you will be happily surprised about what you will find.

As the picture shows, it is the branches of the blueberry bush that is lifted up. I often come to an area where I only see a few berries, but as I start picking them, looking closer and underneath, I find that there are plenty more to fill my bucket. Or, to be biblical, to make my cup overflow. (Psalm 23)

It is not difficult to find other areas in life where the “lifting up” makes a huge difference.

To put first things first, we shall lift up Jesus. The basic reason for this is that he, as the Son of God and Saviour of the world, is worthy of our praise and to be lifted up. Another reason relates to our well-being: it is important for us to be aware of who we put above us, to influence and form our values.

Paul describes in his letter to the Philippians the journey that Jesus made. From the highest position with God he agreed to be human and serve as the lowest servant, going all the way down to death, taking all filthy sins of humanity upon himself. But there, God gave him victory over death and Jesus was lifted up again to the highest place. To us this means that there is no life situation or sin deep enough where you cannot (metaphorically) stand or lean on Jesus. And there – if you ask him – he can lift you up with his resurrection power.

Since I have had the experience of being lifted up by Jesus from my sins and life of worry, I respond by lifting him up in praise. “Praise” is expressed in attitude, practical ministry and often singing.

Secondly, we shall lift up people who, for example, have fallen into trouble, poverty, grief, abuse or even the pit of self-condemnation. (Just a short note here: There is a distinction between people who make a home in their miseries and those who look out for hope, help and want to be lifted up. If you make your identity and home in your misery the solution is often to get company and pull others down into your own darkness.)

The blueberry-picking experience is valid in this situation too. In order to identify people who have hidden gifts and possibilities you need to get close, get involved and get behind the not-so-attractive surface or first impression. I think that you, as a reader, can understand what this means in real life.

Get involved with lifting Jesus up and lifting people up and you will be surprised how rich and blessed your life will be.

The berry-picking season is over for me but the lifting-up season is always at hand. To get some inspiration, click the link and listen to Lift the Saviour up, he’s worthy song.

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