I read a great quote from Steven Furtick recently: “Sin offers a temporary fix for your pain – while it slowly destroys your purpose.” When the going gets tough, it seems the tough give in to sin. It is a paradox how those of us who know that comfort and peace can only be found in Christ can be so quick to lean on the crutch of sin when something breaks in our lives. Our first instinct should be Jesus in everything, yet instead we run purposefully into the arms of the enemy. This makes no sense and only emphasizes how weak and desperate we are for a Savior to rescue us from our penchant for self-destruction.
I read in John Maxwell’s latest book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”, that he has figured out why some people can do all the right things yet never find success. He says the problem is that while they are ready on the outside, they have work to do on the inside. The issue isn’t with their actions but rather with their character. I believe this is true in our Spiritual lives as well. We can do all the right things – read the Bible, pray, go to church, maybe even sing in the choir – but still not find the life and vitality promised to those who follow Jesus (John 10:10).
Until we become true followers of Christ in the depths of our beings, we will never be able to exhibit His power in our lives. Unless we are passionate and obedient in our darkest, quiet moments, we will never reflect His glory with intensity to the world around us. There’s an old saying that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I submit that the reason most of us lack the power of the teacher is because the student is far from ready. If Jesus isn’t Lord of our most private thoughts, He will not be Lord of our most public activities. Until we allow Him to mold our character into something pleasing to Him, we will struggle to find victory in our lives.
When we commit our lives to Jesus, we must surrender everything to Him. God isn’t interested in pieces of our heart, it’s an all or nothing deal. Too many of us look good on the outside but fall seriously short of the mark when no one else is looking. If you are discouraged by your lack of growth and are trying to determine what’s holding you back, don’t try and add another spiritual discipline to your repertoire. Instead, take a look at who you are when the spotlight isn’t on you. Are you developing your character in such a way that is pleasing to God? Are you doing the little things that no one else does in order to align your heart with His?
Don’t give in to the temporary pleasures of sin. God is faithful to forgive all our sins, but recognize that every time we fall we lose a little traction in our effort to follow in His footsteps. Make the necessary adjustments in your life to keep from stumbling. Pray that God will help you stay focused on Him and not let you be tempted to turn away. When life crashes around you or you are feeling weak, drop to your knees and dedicate your entire being to Christ. Submit your life to His mission. Never settle for easy. Set your heart on doing whatever it takes to become the person He created you to be.