The process of dying to sin and living to righteousness is a painful one.
It is very much a process--a slow, gradual process. You learn lessons. You make decisions.
And most importantly, you change.
I used to think that the decision-making, lesson-learning aspect was all there was to sanctification. After all, there's so much sin, so many bad habits in us...we're constantly discovering them, fighting them. The biggest struggle once God has opened your eyes to a sin in your life, is making the decision to fight it--and stick to that decision.
But I've realized that the battle against sin is not just a more obvious, more dramatic decision but also a quiet, inward transformation.
Sometimes it may not be having done a particular action so much as doing it in a certain way. Sometimes it may not be how we treat someone we don't like, but how we deal with our hearts and learn to sincerely love them--not just whether we can keep our dislike of them a secret no one can guess at from our behavior, but whether we can actually change that dislike into a Christ-like love and concern.
In the beginning it was such a struggle for me to say, keep my tongue in check, when my heart was hot and bitter. I knew the words on my lips were weapons I wanted to hurt the other person with. It was all I could do to keep them back and that was the simple lesson God taught me at that time--to control my tongue and my temper.
However, I can't let myself become complacent now this has become less of a struggle than it used to be. I am better at controlling my temper now; I've learnt 'not to trust my tongue when my heart is bitter.'
But sadly, that only means I've learnt to keep my anger in check.
It's still there.
I've just learnt to hide it better, to minimize damages so to speak. I may not have hurt the other person with my reply like I wanted to, but it's still festering inside of me--hurting ME.
Realizing this showed me that I've been confronting my sin much the way the Pharisees did--all the visible parts of it. In reality all I was doing was melting the tip of the iceberg--sawing the fin off the shark.
When I pray about my sin, I need to pray about my heart before I pray about my actions. After all, the actions are reflections of my heart.
I need to pray that God will change the desires of my heart, from myself to Him.
From what pleases me to what pleases Him.
I need to pray that God will change the way I see others. From people to be judged, used, feel good about, imitate--to fellow sinners made lovable by Christ's love for them and me.
I need to pray that God will give me greater hatred of sin and greater love for Him, rather than merely better self-control.
I need to pray that God will transform my heart, because everything starts from there...
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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