I have struggled lately when reminding a 3 year old about the things he should and should not do, and then watching him do exactly what I just warned him about 10 seconds earlier. He gets it for a short while afterward, when he discovers the consequence of his actions, e.g. ‘sit in your chair so you don’t get hurt’, and after he falls, he cries and looks for sympathy. I get it too, a 3 year old is still learning to control his body, remember what you tell him, and testing boundaries, so hopefully will show some improvement over time. But should a 30 year old man know better when he does the same things? After suffering the same negative consequence multiple times, how long does it take to behave better and ‘act your age’? What things have you been repeatedly tempted by, with some successes and failures on your scorecard? What has worked?
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
Just this past week, a kitchen cupboard door was broken and I warned my wife to be careful if she opened it. Then without thinking, one morning I yanked it open and ended up with a gouge on my lower eyelid, not far from losing an eye. Good and bad habits start at a young age, and we can change, but old habits die hard when you depend on your own self will and environment to facilitate those changes. Each day we can be tempted to make poor choices with what we eat, what we watch, what we say, how we react, or with just about anything we do. What do you struggle with the most and what have you done to try to change your behavior and how you react? Has it worked?
Who would want to, but if we made a list of all the bad choices we have made in our lives, and the consequences of those actions, could we look at our lives now and say we have learned a thing or two and don’t make the same mistakes we once did? When we boil it down, most poor choices are made out of selfish motives. We put ourselves and our needs ahead of whoever is in front of us, or suffers the consequences with us, whether a spouse, a child, or the stranger that happened to encounter us at that moment. Whether it is the result of greed, lust, impatience, or hate, the results can be equally devastating. How often do we turn to God in those moments and ask for forgiveness, and for help not to do the same again? What does it take to turn to put down our pride and turn to others for help when we have made the same mistake for the 70th time? Let us give others the same amount of grace that our Lord offers to us, but forgives when we turn back to Him. Let Him empower you with the Spirit that brings life and not the spirit of selfishness that brings you back down the same worn paths of failure.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Yours in Christ,