Answer me quickly, O LORD; Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:7-10, NASV)

Monday morning as I shaved, I was thinking of this article. (Monday morning is when I typically write the bulletin article.) As I focused on the article, I sprayed shaving cream in my left hand. I am a right handed person. I am also a practical person. Obviously, I do a terrible job of focusing on two matters at the same time.

Fortunately, immediately I realized my mistake. Being practical, I said to myself, “There is no reason I cannot smear a little soap on my face with my left hand.” I am delighted my ears cannot talk and my mouth promised to say nothing! What a mess! I got more foam in my ears than on my jaws! I shaved my whiskers while they laughed—they did not even see the razor coming!

Why did my left hand find a simple task so difficult? My right hand does it daily. Training! I gave all the training from teen years until now to my right hand. So what my right hand does easily without thought, my left hand makes a terrible mess of even when I am deliberate, thoughtful, and concentrate.

So much that seems “to come natural” to a person is a matter of training, not a unique ability. People who conduct themselves righteously do not do so because they have some special ability. They were trained in righteous thought and behavior for a long time. Lengthy training makes their first impulse to think or to act in a righteous manner.

The same thing is true of ungodly thinking or behavior. The person has thought or behaved unrighteously for so long that the first impulse is to think or behave in an unrighteous manner.

So, what is the foundation of the way I think and behave? The key question is, “Who do I wish to be?” Once I decide it is worth the price to change who I am, I begin training. I train myself so my first reaction is to think righteously or behave righteously. I have never met a righteous person who did not consent to righteous training. Who you are is who you are willing to be. It, to you, is worth the price to train.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears the words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Jesus’ words, Matthew 7:24-27, NASV)

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 September 2008

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