Tim Archer just posted a very self-reflective post on his blog about wish lists. I can’t think of a better way to open this post than with his words, so here they are:
Some web sites let you create wish lists, items that you would like to have from that site. I’m thinking in particular of Amazon.com, but I know there are others that do the same. They encourage you to publish these on your site so that friends and benefactors can know what to purchase for you.
He then proceeds to list some things in his life he knows he needs to work on, things he knows could use improvement in his own spiritual walk. Reading it made me feel spiritually reflective as well, and, instead of posting my reaction as a comment, I thought I’d make my own list here in hopes of encouraging you to engage in some self-reflection as well.
- Patience. Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Often, when working with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I grow impatient that they are not as mature and level-headed as I obviously am. I want things done succinctly and now, but the problem is that I may be willing to cause others to stumble in my desire to simply be done with something.
- Compartmentalizing. I’m pretty good at this when it comes to work and home. Where I stumble is in separating the physical from the spiritual. II Timothy 2:15 admonishes, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Paul goes on to warn against vain arguments, which I let myself get pulled into at times because I allow my personal views on some things to interfere with my spirituality. I need to compartmentalize better, pulling the secular agendas from my spiritual walk.
- Prayer. I Thessalonians 5:17 simply states, “Pray without ceasing.” My prayer life is pretty abysmal. We often hear, in sermon illustrations, of those who only pray to God when in trouble. Those imaginary people make my prayer life look good. How successful can I be in pursuing a relationship with God when I refuse to talk to Him? Sure, I’ll listen, but I have a hard time reaching out. Perhaps this is merely a symptom of some skepticism I’ve never been able to eliminate from my faith.
- Initiative. This is the same as brother Tim’s fourth point of promptness. Proverbs 20:4 states, “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” I’m good at putting things off until too late; I’m good at getting a whole lot of nothing done quickly. I need to take better initiative in the things that are most important.
You don’t have to spend much on me; just, if you happen to have any surplus of these qualities laying around, could you throw some my way? In seriousness, though, I think it’s important to self-reflect upon the type of Christians we wish we were. The next step is the tough one. It’s wanting it badly enough to actually do something about it. What kind of Christian do you want to be? What qualities would populate your wish list? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?