When it comes to change, we all believe we must do something completely drastic to improve our lives. It doesn’t amount to much if we simply strive to work harder in our jobs or aim to be more kind-hearted towards people. Instead, we must climb the metaphorical Mount Everests in all aspects of our lives.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for monumental achievements, rather, I’m trying to point out the flaw in never being satisfied with ourselves when we experience small progress. If you can never see small amounts of progress as huge accomplishments, you will not have the momentum to keep persisting towards the huge feats you desire to complete. Our problem is that we see success as a destination—rather than a daily routine implemented in our lives.
At the end of the day, your daily habits will cost you. Whether it’s time or productivity; habits will affect your life. I want to make it a habit to not just hear, but listen. When we speak, we often expose our deepest longings, yet refuse to dedicate the discipline to achieve those desires. We’re hearing our own expectations, but not letting them dwell deeply in our thought life to ignite change. We often know the priorities that are of value to us, yet we choose to ignore what we know will produce fruit in our lives. Instead, we look to those distractions that tear it down in an instant. Do you know why?
There’s a natural, radical division in every human being; the desire to be virtuous and the desire to serve our own selves. Both sides internally struggle to prevent the other from fully enjoying life. In our flesh, we will continually endure this losing battle. But when we are won to Christ, He reigns and defeats this never-ending, vicious struggle and awards us with the victory. Before, we set expectations for ourselves and goals that fulfilled our own selfish desire for control. But now, our eyes focus on a prize not in the world, but residing supernaturally with Christ. We still fight the inner battles of the flesh, but with the confidence that they will always be overpowered by Jesus. Yes, we will often fall into our old habits, but those habits won’t satiate the void in our hearts like they used to because we long to be completed in Christ. When we fall short, there is no need for our entire world to crumble around us.
In these moments, we will focus less on our shame and guilt, and focus more on Christ’s death on the cross. The cross where He willingly gave His life so that we can live in freedom, and ultimately, use that freedom to bring Him glory.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men… It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23, 24
In freedom, hope remains. Every person has a desire to improve as long as there is hope. When you achieve something for yourself, there’s hope, and it shows that you are capable of reaching an even higher aspiration. If anyone can dedicate themselves to discipline, then how much more power in discipline do we as followers of Christ have? We can find joy in growing daily, not just in our major accomplishments.
As Christ followers, our convictions become our resolutions. Listen to what Christ is speaking to you every day as you seek time alone with Him. To what is He drawing your attention? He knows exactly what trials and encounters to put you through for you to look more and more like Him.
Each one of us will go through different phases of goal setting and redefining our priorities, but we can all find unity in setting our eyes and hearts on the cross. We are not fighting alone, and this is a beautiful picture. We can all resolve to extend grace more, share more, pray more, exercise faith more, worship more, serve more, and love more.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
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