Inner growth doesn’t come by lengthening our list of “things I have to do to feel accepted by God.” Other people might be impressed, but if we’re operating in our own energy, all our efforts will amount to nothing. On the other hand, nothing will change in our lives by passively waiting for God to turn us into instant “super-saints.”
So what should we do? Before change can occur we must ask God for His help. He wants to build in us a hunger to please Him, a willingness to hear what He is saying, and an eagerness to obey what He shows us.
What did I need to do when God convicted me of my grumbling and complaining spirit about our ugly wallpaper and furniture? Once I decided it was time to let God change me, He impressed me with three practical steps: they involved my mind, my mouth, and my use of time.
1. My mind. If I found myself daydreaming about sofas, draperies, and beautiful rooms, I needed to practice Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Focusing my mind on Scripture verses about contentment and acknowledging God’s provision of a roof over our heads and clothes to wear helped. So did rearranging what furniture we had. My ability to push and shove heavy pieces of furniture around the house never ceased to astound Jim. What can I say? When you’re desperate, strength comes from somewhere!
2. My mouth. When I opened my mouth to complain about my kitchen’s outdated Early American coffeepot-print wallpaper, I was to close it—my mouth, that is.
What an amazingly simple yet effective strategy! Learning to thank God and Jim for what we did have took me another step in the right direction.
3. My use of time. Knowing that browsing through furniture stores and gazing longingly at expensive decorator magazines only made me more miserable and discontented, I needed to quit cold turkey. After all, my chances of having furniture featured in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous were quite remote. So why keep torturing myself?
Did this three-pronged approach work? Yes—when I applied it, and it still does.
Let’s talk: How is God helping you change some area in your life?
As a nationally and internationally recognized speaker, Poppy Smith helps audiences across the country and around the world to cultivate a more dynamic walk with God. She is a former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader and has a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Direction. She has spoken across the United States, in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., as well as several countries in Africa and Asia.
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