Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? God has given us free will to deal with our sinful natures. We live in a world of pleasures, none that he has denied us access to, many that he wills we should not partake in. Is that fair? Should God decide what should or shouldn’t give us pleasure?
My friend, lifes a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
When you think of something that you haven’t done but are now requiring of yourself to do on a regular basis, you turn to the comfort of habit. Once a habit has been established over something that was only an occasio
nal task, the task usually becomes effortless, often self-compelling. We all deal with these new experiences that require a novel, habitual approach. Let me give you an example. I had a routine for years that involved taking my morning medication at 7:00 and my evening medications at 9:00. Even when I traveled I had a method for remembering. Recently, however, I acquired a new medication that could not be taken with the other medications.This was disconcerting for me, as I was sure that I would not remember to take this medication at noon. At first I relied on my wife Holly to remind me, but she’s not always there to do so at noon. It wasn’t long before I entered into a hit or miss method for taking this medication as I stubbornly clung to the belief that I would not be able to change my habit. As that was ineffective, I decided to put a digital memo up on my computer screen that would sound an alarm at noon. It wasn’t long before I began to anticipate the alarm and turn it off. Now I am habituated to three medication times, even though I was convinced that I would never be able to conform. It was just a matter of personally deciding to do so; now I hardly give it a thought.
Jesus tells us in John 15:4: “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” On the surface it sounds fairly basic. If we want to abide in Christ daily, all we need to do is remain in him at all times. Nevertheless, most of us have existing habits that conform somewhat but not entirely. There are some things in life we would prefer to do alone, even outside of Christ for that matter. Perhaps if we rely on God as I relied on Holly we’ll be fine?
Here’s a thought from Today in the Word. “Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image to stop smoking. But there’s no hidden message in the National Research Council's verdict on such techniques. The Council’s report concludes that subliminal messages simply don’t work. They don’t deliver the life-transforming power they promise. (Today in the Word, June 14, 1992.)
God is certainly capable of taking over our wills and compelling us to do whatever he might will us to do. It would be far easier if he just did that, compelling us to take all of the daily challenges of life, giving them to Christ and then comfortably abiding in him until this or that is done correctly, in obedience and in accordance with God’s will. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in all believers. Ought he not be willing and able to speak to us consistently in conscience; prodding, pushing and twisting our conscience into submission? He could and does speak to us through our conscience. The voice is a reminder of our Christian covenant to abide in Christ. It is not, however, a retaliatory threat or even a reminder of consequences. God has given us free will to deal with our sinful natures. We live in a world of pleasures, none that he has denied us access to, many that he wills we should not partake in. We need to take stock of the things that we have reserved for ourselves apart from Christ. Once we’ve done so, like those noon scripts I stubbornly refused to conform to habit, we need to decide to abandon these to a habitual relationship between Christ and us. The only thing that compels us is our free will. We have it for a reason, so apply it for good habits and find out how quickly the impossible becomes possible.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us free will to decide what kind of relationship we want with you. We are thus bonded of your accord and ours, a bond that is truly compelling. Forgive us Father when we hide parts of our lives from your will because we are ashamed or selfishly filled with pride. Help us to recognize those things that we have not conformed to your will and become habitual in our method of entrusting them to you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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