Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What is it?

What is it?

What is it, really, that causes us to get into trouble when we say we don’t want to?
That causes us to say something that we know we’ll regret yet we allow it to escape?
That causes us to eat something that we know will go to waist?
That causes us to purchase something that we don’t have money for, think we can’t live without, yet later ignore? (Except for the monthly payments that scream at us degradingly through the envelope?)
That causes us to entertain ourselves in ways that cause us to neglect what is truly important and later heap guilt on us like the bad aftertaste of cheap cough drops?

We’ve been told that it is because our hearts are not right. Sometimes that is true.
But is it possible that sometimes it is because we have not trained our moral muscles to respond in the right direction? That we are still stuck in the lifestyle of our natural, selfish desires? That we have not retrained our moral muscles to respond in a virtuous direction?

James Spiegel in the book, “How to be Good in a World Gone Bad,” tells us that virtues are moral skills that require skill training.

Is it possible that the reason we often fail in our quest for living as we desire is that we have not taken up training our moral muscles, somehow expecting the moral fairy to sprinkle pixie dust on us, instantaneously transforming us into mirror images of God?
Is it possible we have ignored, forgotten, denied, or believed there is another way to living up to God’s standards other than the clear teaching of scripture?

1 Cor 9:25,27 (NIV) “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

“Strict Training!” Sounds like work! Yep, but it’s so much better than paying the price of giving into our frustrating failures. What does it mean? Sorry, I can’t give you the entire training regimen in one bite, but here’s the start: Every day choose some things to say “no” to and some to say �yes� to that you don’t have to. “No” to a TV show, an extra dessert, an angry response or too much time with the newspaper and “Yes” to opening the door for a stranger, getting a cup of coffee for a friend, complimenting a family member, reading an extra chapter in the Bible.

By exercising our muscles in small ways we begin the training that develops the moral muscles in the big things in the future.

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