Of course, I realize it won't be easy. Any time someone begins working on positive change, two things get in the way: satan (yes, he really is out to seek and destroy us so he really does try to mess with our heads and our hearts...especially when we're actively working on developing Christ-like character) and our own sinful nature (which - even for the Christ-follower - will not be finally put away until we see Jesus in the flesh). I've faced my share of both before and have absolutely no illusions about going pain/suffering/temptation free in this endeavor.
God has asked me to do a particularly difficult (but good and necessary) thing in this first week, and - though I've been jazzed through obedience to it since late Friday - I have no doubt it won't be a cakewalk all week; to be frank, I know I'll have moments when I feel like hell. But I also feel that transparently acknowledging (to whomever might read this - or even "just" to God and myself) that I know it'll be tough, while I also cling to truths such as those found in Philippians 4.13, might be just the ticket I need to take up the cross I've been asked to bear over the next few days and walk this week's journey.
I want and need to do battle now for the three reasons Pastor Paul spoke of today. First, I have personal motivation - specific reasons God has given just to me to address these two particular areas. Second, it's part of the "breaking the chains" thing to which He calls all believers - a really important idea since none of us wants our areas of struggle to affect our children (or future generations) down the road. Third, I want to be able to be a light without reproach, as the Apostle Paul speaks of in Philippians 2:14-15. I'll certainly never "have it all together" in terms of being Christ-like this side of heaven. But I do want to be able to shine His light to those around me without any big, glaring sin issues getting in the way of people's view of Him in me. Various issues to work on will come up through the rest of my life; for right now - this "season" - I've got these two things, and I intend to give 'em my all right now.
Today's sermon - an introduction to the series - is not posted just yet, but it should be on the church's website in a day or two. You can listen to it online if you go here and click on the link for today - April 11.