OBEDIENCE TO GOD: punch vs. tea
All my life I thought that becoming more holy meant a struggle with sin, a will power thing, like a new year’s resolution or going on a diet, or choosing to avoid things I liked and to take things that I didn’t enjoy because they were “good for me.” The Christian walk seemed to be like taking vitamins, drinking vegetable juice and passing on desert.
But recently, I’ve come to understand that growing in Christ is about GRACE and about being transformed by the renewing of your mind. It’s about loving God and desiring to please him. This change comes about by immersion in the Word (faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God) , being in his Spirit, and by prayer and communion with Him and fellowship and worship with fellow believers.
When you’re mind is transformed, you will find yourself just plain changing, wanting things of God and not wanting things of this world. It’s not about will power to choose what is right, it’s about the transformation of tastes, desires and wants so that by choosing what you want, you’ll choose what is right.
I’ve come to understand that fighting sin is more about loving God and holiness more than it is about resolving to sin less. I’ve found this to be not only something I’ve come to understand intellectually but also to be experiencing. I’ve found that time when previously I’d devote to sinful activities, I now honestly just prefer to worship, study the bible, pray or engage in electronic fellowship with other believers (I’d prefer a more personal form of fellowship, but I take what I can get).
We also find ourselves liking disobedience less. This has been a revelation for me, in that recently for the first time in my life, I’ve come to understand that holiness is not about my willpower to stop sinning, it’s about renewing my mind so that I just plain don’t want sin as much as I used to.
When I was a child I used to love to drink fruit punch. I loved how sweet it was to the taste. Iced tea and coffee gagged me. Now I’m an adult and I drink my tea and coffee with no sugar. If I drink fruit punch I recoil upon tasting the sugary sweetness of it.
I didn’t become an adult by choosing not to drink punch anymore and deciding to drink coffee and tea. I made no new year’s resolutions to cease drinking punch or to start drinking tea.
Actually, my tastes and preferences just changed and I was able to “give up” the fruit punch and enjoy the tea and coffee quite effortlessly. No willpower was required. No prayer to give me strength to forego the punch, I just changed, matured, transformed. It’s not about free will, it’s about transformation of my tastes.
Likewise I believe it is with sanctification. It’s sort of like my tastes and desire are just plain changing, as opposed to resolving to stop doing something I still like doing or resolving to do something that’s unpleasant but viewed to be “good.” If we love God and desire to please him, we don’t really need a why. We also find ourselves liking disobedience less.
It wasn’t about will power to choose tea, it was about the transformation of my tastes, desires and wants so that by choosing what I want, I choose tea, not punch.