As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been a Christian my entire life however, never really had a personal relationship with God.  When I finally understood the importance of having my own personal relationship with God and that going to church on Sundays and praying when I needed something wasn’t enough I began to change some of my old ways and habits. 

                Through reading my word daily I began to truly know for myself who God is and how as a Christian I should be modeling my life after Christ.  This includes all aspects of my life.  I was truly trying to be a “good Christian” – is there even such a thing? So anyways I would make it

a point to spend time with God by reading my Bible everyday and praying and to show kindness to all and the list goes on.  The Bible states how we should “take off the old self” and “put on the new self.”  Romans 13:12 says, “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  When we truly recognize the importance of how we should conduct ourselves when claiming the title of Christian we must live according to that verse.               

                After realizing that I should be Christlike and exhibit the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control – I made it a point to live as Christ would.  The problem is I failed, failed, and failed some more.  On Monday Sally Sue would say something that rubbed me the wrong way and I would be “slow to anger” and “kill her with kindness” but later the week she would make another snide remark and I would just go off and give her a piece of my mind.  Then when reflecting on my behavior I would beat myself up because I knew I shouldn’t have treated the person that way even when they might have deserved it because that’s not what Christ did.  During the times leading up to Christs’ crucifixion He was treated like a dog but He never said a mumbling word and in fact said “forgive them father for they know not what they do”  I wanted to be like Christ in that respect.  I wanted to reflect the character traits of my heavenly father but I failed miserably in doing so and often times felt very guilty for failing.

                One thing I realized is that being a “good Christian” or showing Christlike Character is not an overnight process and you cannot do it on your own.  It takes a lot of time and the help of the Holy Spirit.  The first step was recognizing where you fall short. Great job! Now you need to realize that you cannot do it in your own strength.  You need God’s help.  He must transform you from the inside out brushing away all the layers from the years you developed that habit and then slowly replacing it with the fruit of the spirit.  Secondly, as flawed humans we always want a quick fix.  We want to be transformed over night and that’s not how God works.  God’s timetable is often not our timetable.  Spiritual growth and improvement is gradual.  God is in no hurry but He is always, always, always on time.  There are no shortcuts or quick fixes for Christlikeness.  Sorry not sorry! It takes a whole lifetime to develop the fruit of the spirit within us.  Pastor Rick Warren says, “God is much more concerned about strength and stability than swiftness.”   

                You may be wondering why does it take so long to mature and be Christlike?  Well....

1.) Because we are slow learners.  We need repeated exposure to rude people like Sally Sue so that we do not revert to our old patterns of behavior. 

2.) We have a lot to unlearn. Most of our problems and bad habits took years to develop so it’s totally unrealistic to expect them to go away over night. 

3.) We are afraid to face the truth about ourselves.  The truth will set you free AFTER it makes you miserable.  We need to allow God to expose the areas within us that need to be cleaned out and need work.  Once we recognize those areas we need to keep a humble and teachable attitude. 

4.) Growth is painful and scary.  People do not like change because it is uncomfortable.  However, growth requires change.  Every change requires a loss of some kind whether it is friends, relationships, sinful habits, the music we listen to or TV shows you watch.  In order to better yourself and grow spiritually you have to get rid of some things that hold you back.   Remove your stumbling blocks and replace them with stepping stones.  Example, if you have a problem with anger stop watching Real Housewives of Atlanta where girls are constantly cussing each other out and doing this, that and the other.  Instead watch TV that will help you develop fruits of the spirit.  If you wonder why you continue to fail at growing into Christlikeness it could be a result of what you continue to feed you spirit. Check your environment. 

5.) Habits take time to develop and Character equals the sum total of your habits.  You cannot be kind unless you are habitually kind.  Habits define your character.  To develop habits you must practice them.  Habits aren’t instant they take time. 
Be encouraged remember spiritual maturity takes your whole life.  Philippians 1:6 says “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” So when you fail, because we aren’t perfect, don’t beat yourself up but remember PBPGINFWMY – Please be patient God is not finished with me yet.

This post was inspired by Chapter/Day 28 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

No comments

Post a Comment

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

© Miss TierraneyMaira Gall