Sunday, November 28, 2010

Acts of Worship Coming from a Grateful Heart

I tend to think that I can do better if I just try harder. Every Monday I resolve to do better. Sometimes I can do it better for awhile until I go back to my old habits of laziness and taking the easy way. I need God’s help in order to make lasting changes.

Willpower only lasts for as long as my feelings stay uplifted. When I wake up tired and push the snooze alarm multiple times, there goes my resolve to work out. When I come home late from work, there goes my resolve to eat healthy because I grab something quick. As long as I feel good, my willpower is strong. But if I feel tired or blah, I don’t feel like sticking to my intentions.

Self-improvement books and magazines have always appealed to me. If I can just follow a certain 10 steps, I can act better or be better or look better. Magic formulas and routines seem like the answer to making everything work out great. But following these magic routines relies on willpower and willpower is a wishy washy thing – it comes and goes.

Using willpower is also a tool to hide my weaknesses and be a super woman (at least try to be). But God works best through my weaknesses and in spite of them. Weaknesses prove that I’m normal and can be related to by others. Super women aren’t real and can’t be related to even by the ones that seem to portray that image. Nobody is perfect and nobody should try to be.

If a magic formula or routine to be better did exist then I wouldn’t need God to help me. He is a jealous God and has a right to be because He is also the Creator. He would not let me find a do-it-myself plan of self-improvement. He loves me too much to let me go it alone in this life.

I am broken. I can’t just try harder to fix myself. I need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit for healing. My brokenness reminds me that I need a Savior. Praise God that I have one. I need not be embarrassed by my weaknesses and hide them from other people. They make me relatable and they let God’s power shine through. The Apostle Paul resolved to know nothing while he was with people except Jesus Christ and him crucified. He came in weakness with great fear and trembling. But he came – that’s the important part. He showed up even in weakness and fear. His message and preaching did not use persuasive words but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. Faith does not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:2-5 paraphrased).

My response is no longer to try to do better. I’ve tried that over and over again. My response now is to simply bend my knee to the Lord Jesus Christ out of adoration and praise. I can’t change permanently by my own willpower but I can let the Holy Spirit change my heart. Then anything that I attempt to do becomes an act of worship coming from a grateful heart. And that should get me out of bed quicker in the morning.

I’m not here to check off a to-do list or to impress people. I’m here to please God by my desire to please Him. This is what He longs for. People who choose to love Him. Step by step, holding God’s hand, I’ll make it. Becoming is a process not an overnight miracle.

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