Recently was introduced to 2 Peter chapter 1. I may well have read it many times before, but this time it sprouted new ideas to consider. (Reading the Bible is like that often.) The first one is that in addition to a "basic faith" one needs to work on having good character. I would like to pause here a moment and state clearly that "working on faith" is not something we do alone. The Spirit of God teaches, tends, informs, enlightens and lots of other good things that bless us along the way. But asking for help on specific things that we identify as needing work is a good way to confirm our willingness to accept help in an area.
If you realize that along the way you have developed some habits that are not exactly helping you be the person you believe God expects you to be, know that you are not alone. Confessing God as Lord and Savior does not mean that we suddenly have a carefree, perfect life. Rather it means that we are connect to a God who loves us and has plans to give us many blessings as fast as we can accept them. But we have things to deal with from mistakes/errs/sins that don't magically disappear. And in some way I can't really explain, unwinding the bad habits and even compulsive behaviors with God's help is a special kind of blessing where we lay down deep roots that can weather the storms that blow through every life.
When you identify something that needs to be changed in your life God will help. It may be a major, public kind of problem like addictive or criminal behaviors or it maybe something as habitually damaging as yelling ugly words at my children or maybe something really acceptable in our culture like spending too much or eating too much. But whatever it is, God is able to help. Sometimes God helps by sending good people into our lives, such as with recovery groups, mental health counseling, a good friend expressing a concern and willingness to help, a book or article, that special Bible verse that we can memorize to help us keep on track. Some habits we must deal with in varying ways over long periods of time and others we can change more quickly. But every step in a better direction, every time we seek a new way to act (as opposed to being focused on "stopping the ineffective behavior") we are building spiritual muscles.
I hate to think how many times I have gotten out of the habit of going to the gym and had to start anew with shorter visits only slowly rebuilding the stamina for longer visits. Or how many times I have committed to eating "healthy" only to find I have slid back into less than ideal choices. But each time I am not as bad as the time before because slowly my body is complaining when I do it wrong. This is one of the good things about getting "old"!
Our spiritual lives are much like this. We just have to decide that we will never give up and we will celebrate every "better" choice we make. And carefully we build a strong faith with the help of God, according to God's blueprint.
What step will you take today to let your best self shine on the folks around you?
2 Peter 1:5