I am convinced that the biggest reason people fail in life is not one giant decision that is made at a crucial moment of truth, but rather a series of small decisions made over time that were determined by instant gratification.
We ask ourselves, what would make me feel better right now?
When it’s more pleasurable, we chase it.
When it feels good, we do it.
So when things are hard, we give up.
When it costs, we stop.
What does this look like? It depends. It could be the decisions we make about money. It could have to do with our entertainment choices. Or maybe it’s our relationships. The fruit isn’t nearly as important as the root: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life.
However, in focusing on our instant health/wealth/happiness, we miss out on the greater satisfaction and blessing of delayed gratification that comes through Christ.
Christ Jesus, who enjoyed life more than we ever could.
Christ Jesus, who was always satisfied.
Christ Jesus, who kept going.
Christ Jesus, who did hard things.
Christ Jesus, who did not collapse under the pressure of trials.
Christ Jesus, who never argued with his Father.
We do that, though. We argue with God. Don’t deny it; we all do!
Keep the peace? Really? Do you have any idea what she said?
Stop listening to rock music? Really? But it’s fun!
Submit to my boss? Really? But he’s horrible!
And let’s continue our honesty with the result of our arguing: we win. Well, temporarily. We argue because we do not intend to submit. We’re stalling. And our decision is made. The more we stall, the more we argue, the more we reason it out. We’ve already decided what to do; we’re just easing in to it.
And while we win at the moment, and we feel better for a moment, it’s just that – for a moment. We miss out on rewards for our obedience in this life and in the next. We miss joy, peace, and hope. We miss satisfaction. We miss fellowship. We grieve the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual Death begins.
And then God puts his finger on another area of our lives – and we compromise. We rationalize. The world comes to our aid and confirms our argument.
Spiritual Death continues.
Each time it becomes easier and easier to compromise.
Why is that? Because we’re not just starving the Spirit – we are feeding the flesh.
Let me be very clear here: THERE ARE NO HARMLESS DECISIONS.
You are always feeding one and starving the other. And what you feed grows… just as what you starve dies.
Just like the Casting Crowns’ song says – you may forget about your flesh, but it never forgets you.
You may not realize it, but you’re leaving scraps left and right. Some people even set a full table!
And just as soon as he can, he’ll rob you in the middle of the night. When you least expect it. When you’re completely unprepared and have no line of defense. You didn’t expect it, so you weren’t guarded.
What happened? You used to be prepared. You used to guard your heart and mind. You used to be Spiritually Active – but now you’re Spiritually Passive.
You have all the tools you need to defeat him, but you won’t. Why? Because it’s hard. It hurts. It requires faith.
You mean it’s better this way? Yes. A thousand times, yes!
You mean You know what you’re doing? I’ve never failed you and I won’t start now.
You mean You’ll be enough for me? Always and forever.
The God of the universe who knew how we would brutally betray him chose to create us anyway – because he wanted to share himself with us. His love, his power, his glory. It doesn’t make sense! Because it’s not about us. It’s about him. How
The reason we make so many compromises is that we’ve fixed our eyes on us, not God. We’ve forgotten his power, his glory, and his love.
What consumes your mind controls your life.
And so, not-so-suddenly, we’ve become people who are complaining, who are selfish, controlled by lust, and are “soft, wimpy Christians.”
How do we change this?
How do we become strong in the Lord?
Controlled by the Spirit? Faithful, satisfied, and full of love?
Do not get drunk on wine,which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Singing Godly music. A.W. Tozer said, “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” It’s true. You want to be Spiritually Active? Yield yourself so that Christ can work in you and fill you and love you! You have to start with what you listen to and what you sing. It’s gotta be about God, not you.
Next, you must be thankful. Did you know you can’t be negative and thankful at the same time? You can’t be critical, self-centered, or boastful when you’re giving thanks to God. Temptation comes when we focus on what we don’t have. Contentment comes through thanksgiving.
Finally, submit. Ouch. Why? Out of reverence for Christ. In order to submit to Christ, you must submit to the people he places in your life. Do you really trust Christ enough to trust your boss? Your husband? Your pastor? Your teacher?
Isn’t it funny that all of the things we must do to make way for the Spirit to control our lives (and thus, bear his fruit as in Galatians 5) are the complete opposite of what we naturally feel like? It’s that way on purpose. It requires faith to deny our flesh and experience Christ.
So when you’re tempted to make a compromise, choose to look ahead. What do you want later? Make the choice now to prepare the way for what you want later by trusting God, submitting the Spirit’s control, and experiencing freedom.
Overwhelmed? Look ahead. Rescue is coming!
Tired? Run to Jesus! His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Lonely? He’s waiting for you and he’ll never leave you.
We press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.