I’ve had a tough time recently in my walk with God and yet, very few people have known about it. It’s that introverted part of me that tries to hide the side of myself that fails and struggles; so that others will believe that I’m bullet-proof and have my life together.
The problem with that way of thinking is that it’s inconsistent, fake at best and downright hypocritical at worst. Now, I hate the word hypocrite, and no one would admit to being one, but areas where I talk one way and act another are sure signs that inconsistency has crept into my life. All of this was brought to my attention recently by a friend who saw the need to talk to me about some of my inconsistencies. I can’t say that I enjoyed the conversation, but I needed to hear most if not all of it. And it led me to ask: What am I doing or not doing in my life that’s causing these areas of disparity? Following are some of the ways that I find myself being inconsistent.
- PRAYER- The adage “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2) could definitely apply to my life right now. Prayer, or the lack thereof, has taken away the focus from God and put it squarely on myself, causing me to seek Him for some things and use my own ingenuity for others. I’ve effectively told God, “Don’t worry about me, I’ve got this.”
- FORGIVENESS- This is a tough one because offering forgiveness is an unnatural and sometimes difficult thing to do at times. What it boils down to is that I expect forgiveness from others, especially when I’ve openly admitted fault, but I’m not so quick to offer forgiveness when I’ve been personally offended or wronged. This is one area of inconsistency that has led to making comparisons and to hanging on to past hurts.
- JOY/ENCOURAGEMENT- I’m like everyone else in that I like to spend my time around people who are joyful and an encouragement to be with. But I realize that’s a two-way street and all too often, I let my circumstances dictate my joy. Instead, I should be making a concerted effort to be joyful regardless of what life throws at me.
- SELFLESSNESS VS. SELFISHNESS- Finally, the physical me, the Joe who wants to get what he wants, constantly gets in the way of the me who seeks to be selfless. I agree with Paul that the me who wants to do good and think about others is always at war with the me who is just looking out for myself (Romans 7:14-23). I’m selfless just enough of the time that I convince myself of what a good job I’m doing. And that in itself is a selfish thought.
All of this examination boils down to one truth: A lack of surrender is the root cause of my inconsistency. Because I’m still attempting to run certain parts of my life rather than surrendering to the Lordship of Christ, I can see a departure from the life God would have me to live. It’s so simple really and yet so difficult, this act of surrendering. It’s hard to let God run the whole show and trust that he will take care of me.
But that’s what faith is all about. I must decrease so that He may increase (John 3:30). If I can get that right then maybe I won’t be double-minded, having one foot in heaven seeking to serve God and the other foot on earth, looking out for only me.
Lord, I am in awe of your greatness. Although I don’t deserve it, you are patient with me while I languish and worry about myself. I know that you are wise enough and big enough to take care of my needs. I know you have blessed me with many wonderful things, including the ability to work things out on my own, but I pray that you will help me surrender more wholly to you. Show me the areas of inconsistency in my life and help me, through your Spirit, to put you and others first. Cure me of my selfishness and give me a heart that knows what it means to serve you. Amen.