It’s easier than it used to be. I seem to recall that changing the time on our old station wagon meant holding in one button (never could remember which one) for a few seconds, pressing something else, wiggling your nose just right and then maybe… Wait, was the radio supposed to be off or on for it to work?
But I digress. My point is that when we come to something we know but don’t use very often, it is often hard to recall or put back into practice right away. The same goes for our faith lives. We all know that faith is more than “head knowledge” and it is more than “heart knowledge”. They both need to get lived out day to day in our relationship with God.
I think most of us get this in the big picture sense, and being on the journey together means we’re figuring out how to put this into practice one bit at a time, following Jesus, being changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live into the Father’s mission.
What I’d like to suggest, though, is that when we come across something important that God shows us – whether it be in a scripture or a book or a sermon or an insight God gives – it is critical to not just say, “Wow – what a cool thought. Thanks, God!” We need to find a way to begin regularly living out what we’ve learned. And that often means unlearning ways of thinking and acting we’ve grown up with or which are a part of our culture. Unlearning doesn’t happen by forgetting something that is deeply ingrained in us; it happens by creating a new pattern, a new grain in our lives.
We can agree, for example, that Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We can even do something nice (once in a while), for someone who we feel doesn’t deserve it. But cultivating that in our lives takes more than a few gestures here or there – as important and critical as those first steps may be!
It isn’t easy. In fact, trying at all will soon bring us face to face with just how entrenched these things opposed to God’s way are in our souls. And if we think of this merely as “self-improvement” we’re going to crash and burn quickly. This is God’s work, and the transformation which happens is by God’s power and grace – and at the same time, it is part of what it means to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind.”
What insight has God planted in your heart that needs to become a habit?
Blessings on the journey,