So you get online, find a marathon, and register.
Three months later you head out the door, tennis shoes in hand, ready for your race.
You didn’t get a chance to train for it, but you don’t think that will be a problem. After all, you signed up. You made the plan. You’re good to go.
What’s wrong with this picture? A lack of training maybe? Unrealistic expectations? Muscles that aren’t going to cooperate?
Growth is Intentional
Sometimes we approach Christianity the same way this non-runner approached her marathon.
We say the sinner’s prayer, get confirmed, join the church, tell people we love Jesus – whatever – and then we plop down on the couch and expect to stop sinning because – after all – we’re Christians now.
Expecting to grow without ever working on it is like expecting to run a marathon without ever training for it.
We might expect it—but it’s not gonna happen.
If we want to grow we need to be intentional about it.
Overcoming a Critical Spirit: One Situation at a Time
Let’s see what that looks like in real-life. Let’s say you’re sitting on the couch, looking at your critical spirit, and you think, I know, I’ll start a renewing of the mind project. I want to get rid of this critical spirit so I can love others better.
That’s your marathon. But if you want to be successful with that goal, you’ll have to train. Here’s what a day of training might look like:
First thing in the morning you notice your roommate left her breakfast mess out on the kitchen counter. Again.
You resist the urge to condemn, and instead pull out your computer. You click on the anger questions I posted the other day and use them to have a conversation with God about the situation as you continue eating your Cheerios.
You clear your bowl, put it in the dishwasher, and as an extra measure of grace, decide to put hers in the dishwasher as well. You even wipe up her mess on the counter.
You catch the bus to work, and once again you end up sitting near those ill-behaved children with the mom who is reading away, oblivious to what her kids are doing.
You pull out a notebook and truth journal right there on the bus:
1) Those kids are such brats. 2) I can’t believe their mom is just sitting there doing nothing. 3) Can’t she see how annoying they are? 4) She is such a bad mom.
You replace the lies with truth, accept the unacceptable, and decide to give the mom grace. You don’t get a chance to read the book you brought on the bus but it’s nice to be at peace.
You smile at both the mom and the kids as you get off the bus.
You walk to the bakery, open the door, and right away your boss slams you in the face with a problem.
“Betsy was out celebrating her birthday last night, and I told her she could come in late. Can you do the dishes for her and mop the floors after you get those cinnamon rolls started?”
You squelch the urge to protest – it wouldn’t do any good anyway – and head for the kitchen.
Once there, you whip out your little index cards with anti-judgment Bible verses on them and set them on the counter. You pray through them as you knead your dough.
Slowly but surely, your prayers turn to praise as you see Betsy and your boss through God’s eyes. He’s conforming you to His image, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Question: Anyone have a renewing of the mind project they’ve been working on lately? If so, how is it going?