An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Practice, Practice, Practice

As I looked around my deck with all the different colors of new flowers and bright green leaves popping out on the trees, I could not help but think that Spring is in the air. I love seeing new life emerge and the change and adventure that it brings. Like anything new, you have to practice to figure what works and what does not but the key is to not get frustrated and keep practicing on the new way of life.

Our spiritual life is the same way. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we get a brand new life in Christ. The problem I see with myself and with others, is we need to think differently about ourselves and practice our new life God has given. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (NIV) This passage does not mean we walk around in a holy cloud all day thinking about heaven; however, I feel it does mean we need to constantly train ourselves to think differently and act differently in life situations. If we are going to change our actions, we first need to change our thinking to practice the new life God has given us. The more our actions change and we walk in righteousness, peace, kindness and joy, then others will see the new life that is hidden in our hearts.

Colossians 3: 9 states, “Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV) In this passage we are told that we have a new life and are reminded that being dishonest, the old life, is gone. We are also instructed to practice putting on the new way of living, Christ’s way, of telling the truth. Scripture tells us that Jesus was full of grace and truth. His design for our life is that we are like Him, and full of truth also. Again, practice makes perfect. 

The problem I see is we often work on cleaning up the old life instead of just practicing the new. Instead of working on not lying, we just need to keep practicing telling the truth.   
Instead of working on an anxiety problem, we need to practice walking in peace, keeping our heart settled, reminding ourselves of the truth that God is with us will walk us through any situation. (Psalms 73:23) Instead of working on an anger issue, practice choosing to forgive and asking God to change our heart. Anger’s root is often linked to either fear or unforgiveness because we have been. The greater the hurt, the more we have to practice forgiving.

One of the ways I practice my new life in Christ, is by asking God to help me see the circumstance the way He does. Our thinking needs to change first. Our actions follow our thinking. Another way I practice is reminding myself I am walking in newness of life. Sometimes I have to even preach to myself and say out loud, “I am walking in newness of life.” Reading the Bible, our manuel for our new life in Christ, will show us all God has provided for us in our new life and encourage us. God has dealt with your sin on the cross, not still holding your past against you and He is standing right there, ready to hold your hand and help you discover the new life He has provided.

All of life’s circumstances are designed to work for us to change us into the image of God if we cooperate with Him. Bad things happen to good people; nevertheless, those circumstances will be opportunities to practice our new life in Christ.

Will you join me in practicing your new life? Do not get discouraged when you fall. Get up and keep practicing, today, tomorrow and the next day. If we do, you and I will become more like Him. 
New life in our family- Truett Payne, Rob and Pops

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