Not quarreling. Not fisticuffs. But our day-to-day battles. Everyone has one, often we have many. Sometimes it's depression, and you just want to stay in bed. Sometimes it's spending too much money. Sometimes it's porn. Sometimes it's saying mean things, or judging, or eating too much, or any of a number of weaknesses or bad habits. I have found that in my life, and in the lives of most people I know, we tend to focus on improving ourselves in areas that are easiest, or things that give us the most instant gratification, and ignore some of our deepest, hardest-to-fight weaknesses. For instance, we might improve our work skills for extra money, promotions, or honor, but maintain bad habits with how we treat our spouse and children. Or we may work on a church calling that gains us praise, but we are slothful in our personal spirituality.
So my message today is simple, but hard: you have to fight. You MUST FIGHT. If you have a habit of saying snippy things to your spouse, pay more attention to what you're doing and say something nice instead. It's hard to pay attention. It can even be hard to say nice things. And sometimes you'll fail. But if you keep fighting, and repenting, you WILL improve. Some things we have to fight our entire lives. That can be daunting, even discouraging. But be willing to forgive yourself and keep fighting.
Here's where the extra help comes in, though. I know from much personal experience that there is a God, and He helps us when we're trying to do what's right. Even if you don't believe this now, I ask you: wouldn't it be nice to get a little help with what you're fighting? It doesn't matter if you think it's silly; no one else needs to know. I invite you to pray in your mind and ask God to help you with whatever you're struggling with. It's like the scientific method: you take a simple hypothesis (in this case, that there is a God and He wants to help you) and test it. You have some anecdotal evidence (myself and possibly others telling you it's true), but don't take our word for it. That's just information that gives you the hypothesis. You need to test it for yourself. Pray for help. Pray to know if what I'm talking about is true. I promise that if you do so with an open mind, data supporting the hypothesis will come to you. In other words, you will start to see & receive evidence that there is a God, and He loves you and wants to help you. That's all -- I don't expect you to become a bible-thumping radical. Just gather data.
And keep fighting.
6 days ago