Choosing to walk with the Lord and surrender my life to His will has by far been the most rewarding and yet most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. In the past 14-15 months God has shown me that though salvation comes in an instant, sanctification can be a long and arduous journey, especially if we are stubborn and set in our ways. The longer we have spent completely wrapped up in the world and solely focused on our own prideful desires and selfish ambitions, the more bad habits we have to make especially when it comes to our choices.
Upon reading Proverbs 26:11 recently I was forced to come face to face with my own weakness and the disgusting imagery to describe the unfortunate history of repeating the same mistakes in my life:
As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly.
Is this not a striking image of how we feel when we allow ourselves to be led by our flesh instead of God’s Spirit? Repeating our same mistakes, and returning to sinful ways feels just as disgusting as eating our own vomit. The Apostle Paul explains this war between our FLESH and our SPIRIT so powerfully in Romans 7:19-20:
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.“
It seems that upon conversion we begin the process of learning to wage war against our flesh and earthly desires. We must be willing to go through the process of allowing God to weed out all our own philosophy, beliefs and habits that previously justified and kept us in our sin. The more time we spend fervently seeking God by reading His word and seeking to develop intimacy with Him in our prayer life, the quicker God is able to remove the obstacles that keep our purpose in Him being fully realized.
In my experience the most important quality that must be cultivated for this to happen is HUMILITY. This is the opposite of PRIDE. Pride says “I know it all.” Humility says “I know nothing.” For me personally this single verse in the Bible has humbled me more than ever; comparing my habit of returning to old ways as a dog returning to its own vomit.
Luckily God didn’t leave me there. The very next verse Proverbs 26:12 says this:
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Wow. I’m a fool, but there is more hope for me than someone who is full of pride and arrogance. I’ve learned to humbly come before my Lord and Savior and say “Jesus I am a fool, and I am lost without you. I need your guidance, your grace and your mercy.”
I couldn’t fill a pitcher with clean water if it is full of something dirty and putrid. I must first empty what I don’t want in order to fill it with what I do want. In the same regards God has been teaching me to empty and pour out all my old beliefs, ideas, habits and ways of being and this is what allows God to fill me with His Spirit, His wisdom and His truth.
In what ways can you become more humble before the Lord? What “dirtiness” does your “pitcher” contain that needs to be emptied so it can be refilled with the purity of God’s plan for you?