Changed, not just patched?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are there no “ifs, ands or buts” when it comes to living the penitent and changed life of a Christian dedicated to producing “fruit in keeping with repentance?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

There are two ways to fix a leaky pipe. You can choose to patch it somehow and hope for the best or you can choose to replace it and start over with something that promises to work from the start. On the surface that doesn’t seem like a no-brainer, but when the one is so much more expensive and involves a lot more time and effort, taking the easier route has its good points. Several years ago I was confronted with a leaky shower water drainpipe in the wall of my house. The pipe had been slowly leaking for weeks and I just couldn’t ignore the bucket that I kicked every time I walked into the basement. I knew that I had two options: patch it best that I could and hope it would hold or pull it all apart and do it right. The first would be faster, easier and less expensive; the alternative would not. Yet, since I wanted the pipe to work for me and not against me, I bit the bullet and did it the hard way. I tore the whole thing apart and hoped it wouldn’t end up being as big a job as I had thought.

Doing it the easy way has always been very tempting for me since avoiding unnecessary work has always seemed to be the right thing to do, especially when it came to plumbing repairs in particular. But sometimes, when I come to the realization that wisdom dictates that if you really want to change things for the better, shortcuts need to be ruled out, I know there is a better path than a shortcut.

In his book, Little House on the Freeway, author Tim Kimmel writes: “I had a friend who was adamantly pro-life. He and his wife even gave some thought to opening a pro-life clinic in town. Then, one day, he related to me how he had made a mistake and gotten another woman pregnant. I asked him if they were going to put the baby up for adoption. Pressing him for an answer he replied, “I know what I believe, Tim, but that’s different than what I had to do. I had to make a decision that had the least amount of consequences for the people involved.’ Just by the way he said it, I could tell my friend had rehearsed these lines over and over in his mind. And by the look in his eyes and the emptiness in his voice, I could tell his words sounded as hollow to him as they did to me. (Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway)

If we want to lead righteous lives, faithful to our calling as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, it’s important that we understand the importance of changed lives that might, and probably will, take some effort to repair, not just patched up ones that don’t really fix the problem. Repentance is tied to action. If we are truly committed to changing our sinful behavior, we need to be sure that we are committed to making the hard and sometimes painful changes that are necessary to confront and battle the forces of sin in our lives. Believing is one thing–doing is another. There are no “ifs, ands or buts” when it comes to living the penitent and changed life of a Christian who is dedicated to producing “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8-9). This is the fruit of dutiful change not just spur of the moment patching.

We pray. Heavenly Father, we are always tempted to take the easy way out in life, especially when it takes extra effort and time on our part to do it the best and right way. Sometimes that works out when it comes to plumbing, but it never works with addressing sin in our lives. Forgive us when we believe in doing it right but lack the will to take the time to do it. 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. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

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God bless you for Jesus sake.

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