I have a friend named Russ. He works for Shaw Industries (the flooring company), and he has typically been my inside source anytime I have needed carpet or hardwood flooring for my home. But one time it was my dad who needed some new flooring for his bathroom, so Russ offered to help him out and stopped by the house to get some measurements. No one was home, but he was able to let himself in. While he was there, he stepped on the bathroom scale and got a pleasant surprise. He had lost some weight!
A few days later Russ shared the good news with me, but also the secret to his recent weight loss. He had switched from regular Coke to Diet Coke and in the matter of just a few weeks had lost 8 lbs. That's when I had to tell him that my dad's scale wasn't accurate - and registered at least 8 lbs. on the light side.
Russ was disheartened and disgusted, and went back to drinking regular Coke.
That's often what we do when we make a change and don't see immediate results. We give up, way too easily and way too quickly. Even in our spiritual lives.
Author Eugene Peterson (translator of The Message Bible) described Christian discipleship this way: "It's a long obedience in the same direction." His point? It takes work, it takes time, and it takes persistence to grow spiritually. It just doesn't happen overnight. You have to stick with it.
We often identify areas of our lives where we need to make some changes, and these are often areas of faith. We want to be more patient, more generous, more faithful, more consistent, more disciplined, etc. So we give our efforts to whatever it is for a little while, but then when we don't see the results we want or the feel like the effort required is too much we bail on our efforts. We drink regular Coke.
The Christian life is about staying after it day after day after day, regardless - regardless of the effort, regardless of the pain, regardless of the results, regardless of the perceived progress. You just keep working on it and working on it.
It's like losing weight. You don't drop 8 lbs. in a week or two by drinking diet soda. You get some exercise, you cut back on calories, and maybe in a week you've lost a pound. Just one measly pound. But put a few weeks or months together and see what happens!
So it is with life. And so it is with faith. It's a matter of persistence. Sticking with it and refusing to quit may not make a big difference today, but it will over time!
So where have you gone back to drinking regular Coke simply because the change was too hard? Maybe it's time to try again!
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