I’m up on the mountain. It’s early morn and the day is waking. Sitting outside on the porch, I sense mountain time settle over me much as the fog settles over the plateau.

From my perch above the road, I see and hear the mountain moving. Home folk and tourists, each determined in purpose and destination, pass through town oblivious to my peace and tranquility. Curious, I wonder what tugs inside me wishing to join them. I wonder what wishes me not to. Each passerby seems so sure to me and so unaware.

As if I am also, God keeps telling me to leave the old life behind, to take on the new life with purpose. There is no mystery here. The message is as determined as this old life tugging at me.

Paul writes in Colossians, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth…But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth…Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Excerpts from Colossians 3: 5-17, NKJV).

Paul’s message is plain and clear. This new life begins at my putting off and my putting on. God’s tugging forms inside me. Oblique, my old life sidles with my stride, a tourist wishing me to join in once again. I’m aware, away from Him, outside, all my efforts are vanity. Having lived those consequences, experience tells me their allure ends empty.

The old life tugs at me, wishing me to join in. The new life wishes me not to. Each seems so sure. What is this wishing? And I, aware of my failures from a less determined life, now choose to be counted among the body of Christ, choosing servanthood over servitude.

In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis writes, “But in the meantime if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside, you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them.”

His work begins in our giving of self to Him, our giving up the old life and taking on the new. By giving daily, God forms within us a heart that loves those who do not know what they do, those who live outside. Only a new life enables such. Only this new life allows God His work.

From my perch, time passes by, a temporary tourist unaware God is turning me toward eternity.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.