As I experience some changes in my life, the Lord has begun to point out some weaknesses that need to be addressed. Some of them, I soon realized, would demand a great deal of conscious effort.
In those moments of walking and praying I could feel Him showing me the trees that weren’t producing good fruit in my life. He also began graciously teaching me how to uproot them. And what I discovered along the way was that every last one of them went back to discipline.
While I can’t speak for everyone, this truth came as a shock to me. I’m one of the most disciplined people I know.
“Are You sure that’s what my problem is, Lord? Really? But don’t You remember . . . ?”
Slowly but surely, my eyes were opened and I began to see things for how they really were. I’d allowed Him to take off my blinders and reveal to me what exactly it was that I was letting rob me of success and growth.
One of the first things we brought to the table was the idea of my riding on past successes. To ride on a past success means to filter your today through the lens of your yesterday. While it is important that we learn from the past, we cannot live our now in the mindset of our before.
In Proverbs 6, Solomon introduces an animal and instructs his reader to take heed after it. He writes, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” (v. 6-8)
The ant knows better than to expect food to magically appear for the cold season. No, she understands that in order for food to be produced, preparation had to happen. She didn’t waste the summer season staring around at her friends’ success and wishing she could do something. Instead, she gathered sustenance now so that she would be secure later. She had foresight and took initiative.
Sometimes it can be our tendency to remember how things used to be and then perceive today through that.
“Well, since I used to work out all the time, now I must be healthy.”
“Several weeks ago I prayed a lot. I’m sure I’m okay now.”
“I applied three places two months ago. I’ll get a job sometime.”
We take what we’ve done in the past and apply it to our present day and future. Brothers and sisters, this is a fatal flaw of our spiritual walk. We can’t rely on our former closeness with the Lord to sustain us in a new set of trials and mountains. We need a daily, refreshed dose of His wisdom and power in order to face what’s come and what will come. Our past successes shouldn’t be used as an excuse for negligence and laziness, but rather motivation for further diligence and consistency.