I have an attitude.
I asked God to make me who He wanted me to be, I prayed for Him to mold me into a masterpiece...and He’s answering that prayer.
The problem is that when I prayed, the expectation was that God was going to complete a work in me until I didn’t recognize myself. I was going to wake up one day and be changed.
Instead, He has been showing me the ungodly characteristics that I have been practicing and challenging me to do better.
I'm like, wait...what?
Leviticus 20:7-8 says,
“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.”
Which essentially boils down to this reality:
Growth takes work.
In the same way I won’t wake up one day and $1 million dollars has appeared in my bank account out of thin air or I won't wake up one beautiful summer day to a flat stomach complete with built-in six pack, emotional, spiritual and mental growth takes effort on my part.
God is fully capable of changing us, but we have to begin the work in faith.
1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 says,
“Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God has given us instruction in His Word that tells us how to grow and be successful in all areas of our lives. We sometimes overlook the instruction because it doesn't sound like what we want to hear.
I had an attitude because I didn’t want to do the work. I want to be better, but I want it to happen because I want it. I am otherwise comfortable in my habits, with my defenses and with the way I do things. I know that they aren’t perfect, which is why I have asked God to change them, but they’ve gotten me this far, so I’m kind of attached.
Do you know what I mean?
We have decided that God is going to do all the heavy lifting and we are just going to reap the benefits, but this attitude is not Biblically sound.
God has given us the formula to spiritual, emotional and mental success, yet we ignore the part where it says we have to rise to where the help is.
We get frustrated when things haven’t changed, when we feel like God hasn’t answered our prayers, while actively ignoring His instruction.
In Sunday School this week my First Lady quoted this peculiar phrase, “Procrastination is slow disobedience”
That is to say when God gives us instruction and we don’t follow them as/when He’s given them, we are being disobedient. Every moment I delay in practicing the scriptures is another moment of disobedience to God.
*folds arms and pouts in defiance*
So, I’ve had to ask God for forgiveness, roll up my sleeves, and get to work.
I want to have better relationships with the people in my life, so that means I have to reach out and communicate better. I want to be kind and tenderhearted, so I have to allow for opportunities where I can be kind. I have to practice compassion.
Acknowledging my own character deficiencies has been easier than I thought it would be, it's been the accepting and resetting that had been incredibly frustrating.
I've had to think about it this way, if I were to choose to lose weight or get fit, it would require me to change my diet and become more physically active. This would take some adjusting on my part because I like to eat whatever I want and lay on my couch and binge watch television, but in order to accomplish this particular goal it requires effort.
It's the same way for these goals that can only really be measured internally. It takes effort. God promises to help us, but He also has told us how to ask for help.
Another way to look at it is this, often times a parent will help a child pay for a car, not necessarily because the parent can't afford to do it on their own, but to teach the child how to appreciate the value of the car and even sometimes to prepare them for the effort that the maintenance of the car can require.
If God just granted you patience for example, what would you do when it ran out? Patience is a practiced character trait that God can help you supplement, but if you have none to build on, you won't know how to keep it.
Does that make sense?
So what do you think?
What are you waiting for God to fix for you? In you? Have you done what is required of you to receive an answer or aid?
Are you willing to meet God where your help is?