While chatting on the phone with a friend, our conversation brought up how difficult it sometimes is to 'improve ourselves' in Christ.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, if you decide to open up a seamstress shop (or, for any guys out there, a blacksmith shop or gun shop... =D), you are going to make sure that you can do each job to the best of your ability. You do this by practicing and practicing at whatever it is that you are doing. For a seamstress, you would practice making things, working with different fabrics, learning to do to customized patterns, etc. You wouldn't just open the shop and expect that everything would come to you when it needed to. You would improve yourself in those skills.
The same thing, then, with improving ourselves in Christ. Once we have become Christians, we have accepted a responsibility to act differently from the ways of the world. We have committed to give up our sins, addictions, etc to serve Christ. Obviously, it isn't like these things disappear. We must strive and work on them.
However, I know that often times I fail to do this. I think, "Well, I don't need to really work on submitting joyfully to my parents. I mean, I do it fairly well. I do average." It seems to me that we live in an 'average' world. We always want the average for things... and we also seem to strive for being just 'average' in many areas.
If we are serving Christ, though, we must be striving for better than average. More than 100%. Giving it our best shot with every breath we take. It isn't just about just barely making the grade so you can move onto the next level, it is about going above and beyond what anyone else would do.
In this world, doing this is our witness. When others see us serving joyfully, making sacrifices, helping to carry one another's burdens, they see something different. They see a special sort of different. Because it isn't just our striving to become like Christ that they see... anyone can strive to be a better person without the love of Christ in them, but when we are doing it and giving all the glory to Christ in the process, then they see the difference and it makes them wonder. What kind of God must they serve that they can JOYFULLY give Him praise in everything that they think, say, or do? What is so special about Him that makes them want to do it more and more?
We will get into slumps where it seems we can't go any further. But we can. With God's help, we can. Christ gives us the strength to go on, to make that extra step, to go that extra mile. He will give us the strength if we are willing to perform the tasks that He has given us.
"I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win." 1 Corinthians 9:23-24.
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance they race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12: 1-2
Run the race!
In Christ's Service,