If Christ is in us, then we want what He wants. We might also want what we want, but having a fight inside ensures us that we ARE His.
5 The righteous [innately] hate what is false, but the wicked [those who give in to ungodly feelings] make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves.
It’s the fight inside that proves we are His. If the Holy Spirit were not inside of us, then we would not be bothered by choosing wickedness. Instead, every decision we make is being run by Him and He is giving us His opinion. He is training us to be righteous. Our “want-to to want to” is proof that He is living and active in our lives.
So, that’s the first step in righteousness. The second step is to learn as much as we can intellectually so that we know righteousness from unrighteousness. “Find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10. We do that through prayer and Bible study. When the Bible says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32, then we must learn to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another. We tend to do it in a general sense first, categorically. But, then, we start running into it all over the place. We find that even small expectations bring out judgement in us. We must learn that even in the small decisions–especially in the small decisions–we must think like Christ.
The third step is to train ourselves to be godly. “Have nothing to do with godless myths [don’t entertain them in your minds] and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” 1 Timothy 4:7. How? By practicing the presence of Christ. We are NOT meant to be godly in our own power; we ARE meant to act by the power of the Spirit of God in us. Jesus Himself empowers us when we get out of the way and allow Him to lead.
So, the next time someone disappoints us or is rude to us, instead of thinking ungodly thoughts, judging his comment or decision, or speaking derogatorily to someone else about that person, let’s allow the Spirit to guide our thoughts: Pray for the person; make allowance for the person’s freedom to choose; give the person a way to save face. “We will guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” I’m not talking about just what we say; we are certainly to put a muzzle on our mouths. I’m talking about what is going on in our minds and hearts. Argue with yourself, fight with yourself, and take every thought captive for Christ and to Christ. It’s important.
Paul knew this fight. Here’s what he had to say about it:
26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
He also tells us:
5 We demolish arguments [with ourselves] and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God [our own justifications], and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
People will notice this change in us far more quickly than they will believe what we say. Our actions DO speak louder than our words. Let’s show Christ in the small things so that when the bigger things come, we will be prepared.
Abba, You know how I hate being unprepared for something. May I apply my own preference to my daily living. Help me to prepare each morning for the day by spending time with You in prayer and in Your Word. Help me to train vigorously in righteousness so that my FIRST inclination displays Your character and Your moral fiber, which is goodness. Make me good at being good. Thank You for answering this prayer, for it is certainly according to Your will. I will be ready for the training; give me lots of opportunities–did I really just pray that?! Indeed, I did! Amen (so be it).