Everything takes time!

Every week at our church, whoever preaches writes a follow up devotional for some follow up study and reflection. Here is my last sermon and the devotional that goes with it. Enjoy!

ENCOUNTER: Hebrews 5:11-14

My dream is to be fit like Brad Pitt. :) Truthfully, I would just like to be fit enough to feel good in my clothes, and be able to do active things without feeling like I am going to have a heart attack. Both the moderate attempt at health and the advanced attempt at health only happen with intention.

All growth only happens with intention. And even more than intention, is time and effort.

Think about a goal that you have had. Why haven’t you accomplished it? Usually it is because you got bored, didn’t see results fast enough, or you lost the will. Whether it is losing weight, playing an instrument, or mastering a skill, going from dream to accomplishment takes effort and time.

The exact same thing is true in our walk with Jesus and our pursuit of godliness.

As an illustration, losing weight is pretty simple. Just don’t eat so much. Every weight loss goal in America could be reached if you just didn’t eat so much. There is no special talent, no extraordinary effort, just the discipline to say no.

In order to be well on your way to godliness, the exact same is true. A key component to godliness is purity. And a key component to purity is saying no to sin.

And in the same way that saying no to extra food is difficult, the same is true with sin. People who are fitness buffs have the food thing on lock. They have trained their mind, body and soul to not have food fulfill them, or soothe them, they have built their will power and disciplined their life so food doesn’t rule it. It takes time and practice. And we must do the same with sin.

We must develop the sensitivity to sin, the practice of identifying it, confessing it, and finally resisting it. This takes effort, and time. And even more it takes practice.

As we pursue godliness during this Lenten season, let us take our commitment to purity seriously. May we be open to the Holy Spirit and the conviction the Spirit brings, but then even more, may we learn to resist sin and see purity as a worthy pursuit. May Jesus have mercy on us as we develop our atrophied muscles.

BE REFLECTIVE: Can you identify any sin in your life? How quickly you answer this question is a good indicator at how hard you are pursuing purity. People who take weight loss seriously always know where they are at with their calories. Whether they succeed or not, it is on the front of their brain. Our awareness of our own sin is the same. Will you invite the Holy Spirit to reveal to you sin in your life, and even sin you haven’t previously been aware of.

BE A BLESSING: Your pursuit of purity should not lead into righteousness. Our pursuit of purity should grow our humility, mercy and graciousness towards others. If righteousness is becoming part of your diet you are doing it wrong. Purity will always equate to becoming more of a blessing to those around you.

BE TOGETHER: Nobody can do this alone. Who are you going to invite into this process? Who will you confess your sin to and who will encourage you and hold you accountable?

Good luck this week as run after Jesus and work hard to conform your life to his on this road to sanctification!