** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **
As I look back over my Christian life thus far, one of the few elements that I consistently observe is my own inconsistency. Ironic, isn’t it?
And yet, there are few things that are more troubling to me in my own walk than this: I persist in inconsistency. What troubles me is not that I don’t read my Bible, or love my wife, or pray, or put sin to death, or try to address my kids’ hearts, or try to be a good friend, or work hard to shepherd the sheep of GFC… because I actually do all of those things.
What troubles me is that I don’t do them consistently.
I romance my wife well for a time… but then grow tired. I am regular in my devotions for a time… but then get busy. I spend wonderful seasons in extended prayer and meditation and fellowship with God… but then the tyranny of the urgent breaks in. I work hard to put one sin to death… but then another sin pops up, and I’m distracted from my initial pursuit.
Now, it must be acknowledged that seasons have always been a part of the believer’s life. You simply cannot read passages like Psalms 42-43 and 77 without realizing there are always highs and lows. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t long for the perfect consistency which God desires of us.
As I survey my first 30 years, I’m amazed at how inconsistent I still am. The Scriptures remind me that this disqualifies me for heaven, for dwelling in the presence of God. Psalm 15 says the one who dwells on God’s holy hill is one ‘who swears to his own hurt and does not change’ (Ps 15.4). But that hasn’t been me. I’ve set goals and patterns and trajectories, and then failed–changed–time and time again.
It makes me so thankful for Jesus who was ultimately faithful. He said all that he was sent to say. He accomplished all his mission. He was faithful to make the good confession before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate, swearing to his hurt for inconsistent and failing hypocrites like me.
If God doesn’t bring about the end in the next 30 years, I pray that by the power and the working of his Spirit, he conforms me to the image of Jesus in this way: That I would be able to reflect Jesus in all his faithful and consistent performance of the will of God for his life. No matter how hard, no matter the cost.