I am learning that as a Pastor most of what you talk about in the sermon on Sunday or in your blog during the week is also what you are living through as a husband, father, and son. The fact that the spirit does convict and urge me to change things in my life is a true blessing, however it sure can cause a mess when I do not listen.
But here is the low down truth. There are things in our lives that, until we realize we are still struggling with them, they will not go away. When I was a kid, GI Joe was huge and at some point they would have a message during every episode, “And knowing is half the battle.” That is true in our spiritual walk as well. Where are the areas that God is trying to prune from you currently? What areas do you continuously fail at, but yet do not submit to God’s will on? What areas do you keep finding yourself in the same scenario over and over again? The definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” Where in your life are you living that out? Where do you keep failing and not changing anything?
We have to constantly be seeking righteousness and behavior that leads us to be more like Christ daily. You see our human nature dictates certain behaviors to ensure that this is happening. Either we are moving towards Christ or we are backsliding. There is no such thing as making enough progress and staying put, or becoming stagnate. Prayer, Bible, fellowship, and serving others all create a relationship with God that is growing. Some days it will be a mere centimeter but then other days it will be yards. Movement forward is all that matters in this case.
The biggest thing to remember is that anyone can alter behavior for a certain amount of time but eventually you will fail again. Jesus said in Mark 7 , “And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”(Mark 7:14-23 ESV)
What comes out of us is what defiles us. It is our heart condition that dictates our actions. Are you modifying behavior or changing your heart? That is the question we must all come to grips with in every situation in our lives. If you are loving others out of obligation eventually your true motives will show up. Truly loving God should change our heart and make loving others an easy task. Through this realization we will all be progressing towards Christ in our pursuit of righteousness.
Peace and Blessings,