If only you too could be persuaded to do better!
- Patrick, Confession (British, 5th century)
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
- 1 Thessalonians 4.1
Patrick was not a little miffed at his "friends" back in Britain. They professed to have "believed in" him and his mission, but they had a hard time standing up for him when push came to shove and the ecclesiastical powers-that-be were demanding that he give an account of his ministry.
That phrase, "persuaded to do better," rattles around in my brain most of the day. Can't I do better than pray like this? Can't I pay better attention to the needs of those closest to me? Can't I be a better encourager than this? A better writer than this? A better leader of a ministry than this? Is this the best you can do?
The answer, of course, is, "Probably." Probably all the things that disappoint me about my walk with the Lord are the best I can do. Maybe even better than the best I can do.
But that's not the whole story. A power dwells in me, given me from on high, and He is at work within me to enable me to will and do of God's good pleasure (Phil. 2.13). He is able to do in and through me exceeding abundantly above all that I've ever dared to ask or think (Eph. 3.20).
So while my daily disappointments are the best I can do, they're not the best He can do. And I am persuaded, thank you, that He can grow me, stretch me, work in and through me in surprising new and larger ways, every day of my life, in everything that I do in His Name.
What about you? Can you be persuaded to do better? Not you, of course, but the Spirit of God in and through you.
We'll always disappoint ourselves. But God will never disappoint us. We just need to learn the art of accepting our foibles and limitations - not complacently, but simply - and of calling on God the Spirit to enable us to "do so more and more" in every single area of our lives.
How will that work out in your life today?
Today at The Fellowship
ReVision - Hooray. A debt-ceiling agreement. Wow.
The Scriptorium - Patrick shows us that God is to be feared and loved.