Do people really change for the better as they experience difficulties? Or, do people merely become more of who they already are? What makes a person become a better person? How can you help someone become a better person? Counseling / psychology theories emphasize overcoming childhood hang ups while others emphasize finding ways to meet a pyramid of needs under conditions of acceptance and optimum resources. Whatever happened to the idea of sin? Does each person have an inner tendency to do the wrong thing, even though they know what is right? Consciously doing wrong, thinking that one is only accountable to self, pursuing only selfish physical, emotional or material goals is a strong theme today. Self sacrifice for others, pushing for goals that out last this life, looking beyond the here and now is a rare attitude. It is hard to admit, but each person needs help. Self sufficiency and independence lead a person away from community, from strong emotional bonds, and away from the Creator. The only way to achieve lasting healthy chance is to be aligned with the Creator. He is in pursuit of us. He created each of us, and wants us to be what He intended. He is willing to provide what we truly need. Relying on His leading, not our own, is a must. This must be done daily, moment by moment; not a once for all of time decision, but based on a deep intimate commitment to follow His teachings. The only hope for change is constant renewal, trusting the grace He provides. The more we discover this grace, the more we can see the direction and path to follow. It’s as if we had suffered amnesia, in retrospect, but now we see dimly. One day, we will see fully, clearly, and completely.
I’ve just finished Broken Down House, by Paul David Tripp. There are many applications to daily living. The following review comments are part of a post by Jason Taylor. ?Picture a broken down house. We’ve all seen them sagging and dilapidated dwellings that look as if they are in physical pain. You wonder what the house once looked like, who lived in it, and how it got into such a miserable condition. Some of us look at this kind of house and are simply overwhelmed. We quickly move on, not for a moment considering the possibility of restoration. Others of us immediately see potential. We can’t wait to get our hands on the mess and restore it to its former beauty. Sin has ravaged the beautiful house that God created. It sits in slumped and disheveled pain, groaning for the restoration that can only be accomplished by the hands of him who built it in the first place. The good news is that the divine Builder will not relent until everything about his house is made totally new again. The bad news is that you and I are living right in the middle of the restoration process. We live each day in a house that is terribly broken, where nothing works exactly as intended. But Emmanuel lives here as well, and he is at work returning his house to its former beauty.
Often it doesn’t look like any real restoration is going on at all. Things seem to get messier, uglier, and less functional all the time. But that s the way it is with restoration; things generally get worse before they get better. Someday you will live forever in a fully restored house. But right now you are called to live with peace, joy, and productivity in a place that has been sadly damaged by sin. How can you live above the damage? Even better, how can you be an active part of the restoration that is at the heart of God’s plan of redemption? That is what Broken Down House is all about.”
My eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge; You will not leave my soul destitute. (Psalm 141:8)
I cry out to You, O Lord,
And say, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:5)
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
Answer me in Your faithfulness and righteousness. (Psalm 143:1)
Let me hear Your unfailing love in the morning,
For I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should walk,
For to You I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
May I not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in my power to act. (Proverbs 3:27)
May I not plan evil against my neighbor,
Since he lives trustfully by me. (Proverbs 3:29)
May I not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done me no harm. (Proverbs 3:30)
May I not enter the path of the wicked
Or walk in the way of evil men. (Proverbs 4:14)
May I put away perversity from my mouth
And keep corrupt talk far from my lips. (Proverbs 4:24)
May I not wear myself out to get rich;
Give me the understanding to cease.
May I not set my desire on what flies away,
For wealth surely sprouts wings
And flies into the heavens like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:4-5)
Lord, I thank You for Your eternal word and for the power and wisdom of Jesus Christ. I thank You for the joy of Your presence, and I ask that I would grasp the brevity of life and desire to overcome evil with good. I pray that I would view my interactions with others with careful intention, seeking to reflect your character, your will, pointing them in a clear direction toward you. May you be honored by my efforts, and that credit be given to you.
(adapted from ‘Daily Growth’ for September 9th, by Ken Boa)