Do you ever feel like you're just not making any progress in life? I'm not talking about the things the world considers progress like career, money, success, marriage, kids, retirement account. I'm talking about progress on what matters, on your character, your morality, your temper, your kindness, love, generosity, self-sacrificing, self-control--all those things that make a person a true success in life, a true hero.
I've met countless Christians who've known the Lord for years, yet they are still struggling with the same old problems. They still struggle with addictions, with anger, jealousy, gossip, etc. They try and try and try and yet it doesn't seem that God is changing them. He's not renewing their mind. In essence they keep sailing around the same old island, round and round, and they never make any progress. But why?
Christian brothers, I could not speak to you as to full-grown Christians. I spoke to you as men who have not obeyed the things you have been taught. I spoke to you as if you were baby Christians. . .You still live as men who are not Christians. When you are jealous and fight with each other, you are still living in sin and acting like sinful men in the world. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Last week we talked about how we must have our mind renewed in order to discover God's path for our lives. In order to stop sailing around in circles! But that's easier said than done, isn't it? That old sinful nature coupled with Satan's tricks can be a very powerful pull in our lives! So, how does one have their mind renewed? How does one allow God to change our sinful character?
May I submit my theory from experience? It's really quite simple. Not easy, but simple. Obedience.
Unfortunately, He answered my challenge. Turns out there were lots of little areas in my life where I wasn't being truly obedient. I wasn't being disobedient, I just hadn't gotten around to doing what God asked me. :-) You know the little things I'm talking about: things like telling someone the truth about something, apologizing to someone, calling that person who needs a friend and showing love, disciplining a child, admitting a wrong, going out of my way to show someone I care, talking to a neighbor or friend about God, volunteering at the nursing home... all those things that we know in our gut God has asked us to do. But we haven't done them yet. Why? Because they are HARD. They are hard to do. They cause us pain. We flat out don't want to do them!
The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21
The problem is, God's not going to change us, He's not going to just zap us and improve our character. The only way to change character is to go through tests and trials. God gives you a test and then He waits until you obey to promote you up a step, where he gives you another test, then He waits patiently for you to obey before He promotes you again. And so forth and so on! Building the Christian character is a series of steps. It's just that some people are still on the bottom rung!
Want to know what the steps are:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins 2 Peter 1:5-9
So what do you say? Want to find stop sailing in circles? Want to find God's will for your life? Trust and Obey.