“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4a, (NLT).
We live in a quick fix society. We don't like to wait for anything.
Patience is something that is foreign. Whatever we go through, if it
involves any discomfort or pain, we want it to end immediately.
Commitment and perseverance are virtues that have fallen by the wayside.
“Superficiality,” writes Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline,”
is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a
primary spiritual problem.”
Society also teaches me that
whatever is wrong in my life, it is not a result of anything I have
done. “Don't blame yourself,” society forgives, “someone else caused
this to happen. You couldn't help it.” It is time that I take
responsibility for what I am, what I believe, what I say, and how I act.
I am not responsible for circumstances over which I have no control,
and it would be self-defeating for me to analyze the cause of each one.
But I am responsible for how I respond to failures, trials, problems and
life. I am totally responsible for my reaction. I can't say as the
comedian Flip Wilson once exclaimed, “The devil made me do it!” No, I
made me do it. I am responsible. Against God alone have I sinned.
Spiritual growth in Christ is convicting. It doesn't allow me to make
excuses. It tells me that I must take responsibility for my bad attitude
or my fly-off-the-handle reaction. It means that I should learn from
my failure, and make every effort to not create that circumstance again.
Spiritual maturity also tells me that the next time I am faced with
circumstances either of my own making or not of my own making, I will
react in a mature way that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self-control. The only way that I can have the fruit of the Spirit
alive in my life is to allow all the selfishness of myself to be
crucified with Christ. When I am willing to make this selfless
journey–when I am willing to accept responsibility for all that I
am–when I realize that without Him I cannot become my true self, then I
have begun the journey to grow deeper in Him.
need today,” Richard Foster concludes with his thought about
superficiality, “is not for a greater number of people or intelligent
people, or gifted people, but for a deep people.” I want to go deeper
into His Word, and His Truth. I want my life to be transformed by the
Holy Spirit, and my mind to be renewed. I yearn for the virtues that
Peter writes about in 2 Peter 1:3-7 to anchor my life—those spiritual
qualities of diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control,
perseverance, and godliness, brotherly kindness, and love!
you tired of easy answers that offer no lasting peace? Take
responsibility for who you are, and ask Him to continually make you new.
When commitment and perseverance are fully developed in your life, you
shall be mature and standing strong in Him (James 1:4). You will know
the freedom that comes with spiritual growth and accountability. No more
masks to hide behind. No more trying to find a way to avoid what you
face. You will know that where the Spirit of God is, you have been set
free. And those who are free, are free indeed!