Friday, January 16, 2015

Born to fight!

From birth onward, our minds are a battleground. Laying claim to the territory of our thoughts are our family, our schools and churches, our culture, peers, and the media, all fighting for the upper hand in determining who we'll be and how we'll live.  Some are wonderfully helpful, many are not.

(Becoming Aware of The Mind – Andrew Gable, 2012.)

A long way down that path, we become self-aware and perhaps self-determined.  The beginning for such a transition perhaps appears in the teen years and may continue for a lifetime.  Or not.  The self-authored state where we live by principle and become deliberate contributors to the lives of others may not be achieved at all.  Just reaching the threshold of choosing who we will become is a difficult goal, and the trail is across a bloody battlefield.

Simplistic religious thinking may offer us the chance to be 'saved' in a single-step transformation, but neither history nor the bible suggests we should expect a suddenly-good-and-wise change in ourselves.  In the book, we do find the answers we need, however.  There's real heart-change available via a particular pathway with help being provided to us as needed.  Among many practical teachings, we find the following in 2nd Peter, chapter 1.
 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  
His offer of help is practical, 
not just talk.  Take him up on it.
 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.  
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 
This is not pulpit stuff to hear and forget, it's instruction on how we do our part all day, every day, changing ourselves from harmful to useful.  The progress check point to watch for? Increasing!  If you possess these qualities in increasing measure ...  The alternative is blind, forgetting how it all started.

It won't happen because we heard the sermon, it happens when we do it.  It's a life-long battle.

As a youngster, I was told with a smile ...
 Things are not as they seem.
    You were born into a world at war.
       Everything you do counts.