No More Insanity

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36, ESV)

You have probably heard it said that repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results is nothing short of insanity. I hate to break the news, but psychology experts have an actual term for this behavior: continuous perseveration. They define it as “the uncontrolled and uninterrupted repetition of a behavior (e.g., motor act) beyond its usefulness.”

Golfers fall victim to continuous perseveration all the time. We repeat bad swing habits but act confused when a bad shot leaves the clubface. Or, when we do receive a swing tip, we take it to such an extreme that it no longer remains helpful. When we get stuck in repeating behavior that is beyond its usefulness, frustration oozes out of our pores and impacts the world around us. It’s these expressions of frustration that can actually look insane!

Now, there is a difference between persisting and continuous perseveration. Whether we are working on our game or our spiritual life, we must persist in learning and responding, followed by intentional practice. When we persist with clear intentions, we will move forward in obedience to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us. When we lack intentionality, learning and responding will hit the dead end of continuous perseveration.

It is easy to believe we can hit a straight drive, but much harder to actually execute the technique to do it. It’s also easy to simply believe in Jesus compared to obeying and responding in such a way that brings transformation.

Let’s think about the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) for a moment. If we desire to grow in each one of these areas (I know I can grow in all of them), then we need to be intentional about learning more what the Bible says about them. The next step is to then respond (with the Holy Spirit’s help) to what we learn. And lastly, it will take ongoing practice for the fruit to become a natural behavior.

I have glanced past the words written in today’s passage many times. But recently, I stopped and really meditated on it. What I take away is that we can believe, and believe, and believe, but if we don’t follow our belief with a walk of obedience (which is a lifelong journey), then God’s wrath will remain on us.

Lip service doesn’t make the cut. A heart in service of obedience does.

Tracy Hanson
March 14, 2019
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