You wouldn’t believe the things Sherlock Holmes can do to you. I was riding home from work (no, that’s not a typo) with a friend the other day, and we were attempting to deduce all that we could about people from their cars. We came behind an older Jeep Cherokee, and we began to guess things about them by their tag, the car dealer they got the car from, et cetera. As one threw a cigarette stub out the window, I commented, “They don’t seem as nice as the other person was. They litter.” Spotting one of those ridiculous air fresheners hanging from their mirror, I added “They smoke, but they do not like the smell to linger in their vehicle.” My friend gave this intriguing remark: “It’s funny how people attempt to treats the effects of a problem rather than the source.”
It’s a problem that’s as old as the hills. Unless we are enlightened by grace, we will always look to the symptoms instead of the sickness. Like, what or who do we think about? To answer this question, I find that I often try to force a change in my thought life. We force ourselves deeper when we consider, What are we spending our time and effort on? Which leads to, What do we love?
We decieve ourselves into thinking that if we clean the outside, the inside will take care of itself . Or if we clean out the things on the inside that “disturb” us, the heart will be right. It manifests itself in different ways for different people. And the source lies, I believe, in self-sufficiency. It may be pride, wanting to sort out our own problems, which drives us to the things that we think we can fix on our own. Or it may lie in unbelief, or, to try and express what I’m thinking most clearly, an uncultivated faith, which should be just as wrenching to our souls. Only by looking to God can our hearts motives be changed. And, if we are looking to Him, He will change us by the power of His love.
Self-sufficiency, I find, will find difficulty in looking a problem in the face; belief desires to see a problem for what it is, because it sees God for Who He is. The struggle against sin is a war, not a skirmish; yet it is a battle in which the winner is already decided. When we are caught up in “sanctification by Thursday” it is easy to loose trust in our Captain, and self-sufficiency takes over.
Patience, which is faith, is needed to trust God to do His good work, in His perfect way, in His perfect time. There is the need to strive after conformity: but we must let the peace of God rule. The rest that comes from this surrender is something which words will not describe. Impatience, on the other hand, is a manifestation of pride.
Of course, we can react to any problem the wrong way. Let us do more than just say or write what we know to be true; let us not just make resolutions: let us seek the answer in the Word and on our knees.