Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18
Since God is my sanctuary, I must do everything to develop my spiritual life. Why do I need to do this? Because there are chinks in my armor and the weak spots need strengthening.
I’m willing to do it in the physical realm. Following surgery, there is physical therapy. In education, a student weak in mathematics sits under a tutor. A special needs child requires special needs intervention for his area of challenge. Whatever is weak needs concentrated attention.
In the spiritual, the process is the same. If I’ve got an anger problem, I can’t just throw all the responsibility on God to fix it. “Lord, heal my anger today.” I’ve got to commit time and attention because all growth is cooperative. It takes effort to know God and it takes effort to know myself. I believe that Christian maturity is this ~ Knowing the truth about God, knowing the truth about me, so that the truth about God can impact the truth about me.
I can know a lot about God but little about my own heart. My spiritual life can be comprised of a Christian education without a thought to my inner world. The result is that I will know a lot but feel little. I will live shut down and my faith is little more than an intellectual distraction rather than something transformative.
Here are some examples. An extrovert needs to learn to be quiet. An introvert needs to learn to reach out. A peace lover needs to learn to be bold with the truth. A debater needs to learn when to be quiet and pray instead. A merciful person needs to know when not to offer help and a person with little mercy needs to express compassion. So, for me, an introvert and a peacemaker, I must learn how Jesus balanced alone-time with people-time. I must uncover when Jesus attempted to bring peace and when He introduced conflict. Until I know Jesus, I will not have a mirror.
Moving beyond personality types, there are sins that cripple us. Why do we tend to self-pity? Why do we need to control? Why are we angry? Why do we brood? Why do we need attention? These questions require prayer, reflection, the disclosure of the Holy Spirit, and feedback from people who know us well.
I need change only the Spirit of God can successfully bring about. But I can’t say, “Change me.” That’s ludicrous. I must prepare the ground for His Spirit to move. On a Sunday morning, a pastor does not ask God to preach his sermon for him. He does His part to prepare, consecrate his heart, and then he gets to deliver it clothed in God’s power.
God uses the reflection of His Son to show me my own heart. He shows me what to confess so that I am full of His Spirit. Resurrection power can be mine with some personal investment.
I lay down my pride. Amen