The value of Crystal (of the clarity variety)
Many times we can be struck by the need to be more like Christ in our Character or Competency - through reading the bible, a sermon, a converstation or even just observing someone who is like Jesus. But often we take the thought no further or if we do, we give it an initial effort and then it just fades away and we fall back into what we have always done. This can become a pattern.
To break out of this pattern we need Clarity. And clarity comes by asking ourselves questions:
In whatever area of Character or Competency you are considering (eg gentleness, lack of anger,faith sharing, praying with people) ask:
Do I really want to become the sort of person for whom this is natural and automatic? (ie deep inner change not just a veneer)
Sometimes it will become clear that we quite like who we are at the moment - the adrenaline rush of being angry, the sense of power from imposing what we want on others, the desire to avoid the embarassment of people rejecting our faith sharing or offers of prayer. This clarity is valuable and a significant step forward because it reveals an underlying reason why previous efforts at change haven't worked. So then we need to ask.....
What are the benefits in becoming that sort of person?
Try to imagine yourself being that sort of person and think what would be good about that, what you would gain by becoming that person. Our natural bias is to put more value on what we have to give up and put less value on what we would gain. Think about why Jesus preferred to be that sort of person. Ask someone who has that Characteristic or Competency what they enjoy about being like that. Remember that in areas of becoming more like Jesus in Character and Competency - the grass is always greener on the other side. So then we need to ask....
How can I keep the benefits and desirablity of that change clearly before me?
If we can find a way to remind ourselves of the people we could become, we open ourselves more effectively to God's gracious work of transformation. When we are aware of our current preferences and the need to leave them behind, we will embrace that move when God's grace starts to make those things seem less important. When we are convinced of the desirablity of the new characteristic or competency, we will more readily ask for God's grace and be open to His leading and provision in growing in that area.
Growth always comes through God's Grace and Clarity puts us in the best position to receive that Grace deep into our lives.
photo credit: Lost in Field via photopin (license)