Running a mile always starts with a step.
When it comes to long goals or distances, we lose our vision in the big picture to the point that we get overwhelmed and I realized that most people freeze up when they get to this state. A strategy that I use when I go through a hard running workout is to not focus my vision on the horizon because my brain sees how far it is and gets overwhelmed, which slows me down. What I do focus on to get through a tough run is for me to look only a little distance ahead of me because as I look at that small distance closing in on me I am able to focus on the details of every step, which helps keep my pace to run hard.
This same concept of focusing on the small steps to reach a goal is a fundamental principle in life and how we step daily determines the direction we are heading. A lifestyle of holiness or sinfulness is not determined in a moment but a collection of moments and decisions.
So let us learn how daily decisions affect the way we live our lives.
WHAT IS PRACTICED IS WHAT IS PRODUCED
“This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her. As a well keeps fresh her evil; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me.”
As practice makes perfect, we must also learn that how or what we practice is the thing that brings about the outcome.
For the Israelites, they practice keeping evil fresh within their midst and therefore the consistent practice of it produced violence, destruction, sickness, and wounds.
So what are your daily actions producing?
IT IS ULTIMATELY THE POSTURE OF THE HEART NOT POSITION THAT DETERMINES ACTIONS
“For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.”
Greed and corruption is not a matter of what you have but a posture of the heart that you possess because the temptation for all is to blame circumstance or outside forces that “make” us do things. I get it because I too am prone to make such excuses for myself but what we don’t own up to we won’t grow out of. As tempting it is to say it was not because of us, which there will be times it isn’t but for the majority of the time we played a part in the outcome.
What is the posture of the heart mean? There are actions that people can see on the outside but what are the emotions and thoughts that you may be hiding from others, God, and even yourself! You give a greeting with a smile but what is your heart saying about that person? You maybe giving an offering but are you secretly complaining about it in your heart? You pray for someone but are you inwardly thinking about something else? The posture of the heart is what you truly believe, feel, and think and this inward unseen reality will either line up with our physical actions or be very contradictory to it! So when you act, you have to ask yourself what are you really feeling and thinking?
Outside forces play a part but the inner life is the key contributor of what you ultimately do therefore check yourself daily so that you won’t be straying weekly.
FALSE PEACE ALLOWS SIN TO THRIVE
“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”
When sin operates, it loves to save face especially within the community of God. Saving face is pretending things are ok so as to give off an image of perfection when in reality life is not perfect and that the only way to move forward is to acknowledge the mess. When I see a “perfect” community where no one struggles, I wonder if people have settled for false peace and or do not really care to be genuine with each other. When you are only surface level with people, it may always seem good and perfect because to go deep with someone means that you will encounter mess but at the same time it is in those moments that genuine connection happens. Don’t settle!
Sin loves to hide in false peace so don’t lie to yourself or others that things are ok when they are not but acknowledge them and figure out how with the grace of God overcome them.
REMINDER: No body is perfect so get rid of that ridiculous standard for yourself and others.
HARD HEARTS FORM WHERE SIN ENDURES
“Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.”
Where sin endures, hearts get hardened and the inability to hear God goes out the window. This was the question that was posed earlier in verse ten where God asks a question if anyone would even hear Him? The answer was no because the growth of their sin has brought them to this point of not being able to hear God’s call.
Today is another day again where you can make choices. I remember I was getting korean bbq with several friends and our waiter was a large guy with the stereotypical glass wearing, five dollar haircut, overweight possible gamer asian but man was he hilarious. As he was cutting our meat, we struck up a conversation of food and weight. While the waiter was laughing he told us that his goal everyday was to make a slightly better decision today than yesterday when it came to diet!
We all laughed and gave him in the end a big tip for the comedy but he dropped some hard truth on us! When we want to progress forward, we must have the mindset to pursue and make good choices better today than yesterday and be consistent. Today let us embrace every step with good choices and do that daily as a way of getting closer to God. The best choice you can ever make is to say yes to Him so today if you have not, see how you can choose to glorify Him!