Friday, January 25, 2008

Quick Spiritual Fixes

by Stephen Altrogge @

I like quick fixes. When something breaks in my house I do two things. First, I decide if we really needed the item in the first place. If not, I toss it. Quick fix. If this item really was of some importance, such as a large piece of furniture, a stove, or a kitchen table, I determine if the item can be repaired using duct tape. I have been known to use upwards of two hundred yards of duct tape on home repair projects. Quick fix number two. If it can't be fixed using duct tape I call in the pros.

I like quick spiritual fixes as well. When I'm struggling with a sin, I want someone to tell me how to get over it, right now. Give me a scripture verse that will solve my problem, or a book that will lay out a precise twelve-step plan for overcoming sin in three weeks. I'm not a big fan of going to my accountability group on Friday mornings and confessing the same sin that I've confessed for the last 17 weeks. I want change, and I want it now. I'm sure you can relate.

This desire for change is good, and God-honoring, but I think we often forget that sanctification is a slow process. Becoming like Christ doesn't happen in days, it happens over decades. I recently read a quote that reminded me of both the slow nature of change, and the necessity of regularly reading scripture for the purpose of change. In his book Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life, Don Whitney quotes a man named Geoffrey Thomas. Thomas says:

So do not expect always to get an emotional charge or a feeling of quiet peace when you read the Bible. By the grace of God, you may expect that to be a frequent experience, but often you will get no emotional response at all. Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these.

I love this quote! Growth in godliness is the result of consistently letting the Word of God "break over your heart". Our hearts are like stones and the Word of God is like the ocean surf. We must regularly let the "surf" of God's word break over our hearts and erode away our sinful thoughts, attitudes, and desires. That's why regular devotional times are so crucial. Apart from regular time in the Word of God we simply won't grow in godliness. It's that simple. If you want to grow in your love for Christ, you must spend time sitting at his feet, hearing his words. There is no substitute.

Are you letting the Word of God shape your heart? Are you regularly spending time in the Word of God? The grace of God flows through his word, like water through a channel. We just need to stand in the channel.

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