Desert Wisdom: One Thing at a Time

One of Satan’s greatest tricks is to overwhelm us.  We look at our lives and see all sorts of places and ways where we need to make improvements and changes.  We feel exhausted before we even begin, and sometimes the “paralysis of analysis” shuts down our motivations all together.

The early Christians took another approach.  Dioscorus of Namisias made one resolution per year.  “This was his system in everything.  He made himself master of one thing, and then started another, and so on each year” (DF. Ch. 4, 13)

This seems “way too slow” to many of us.  But when we feel this way, we need to ask ourselves if the motivation for our spiritual formation is speed or singularity—coverage or consecration.  We may be unwittingly deceiving ourselves into believing that the “more” we take on, the “more spiritual” we are.

But when it comes to overcoming sin in our life, common sense tells us that we are more likely to defeat one enemy than we are to win a “gang fight.”  God’s grace will hold “the gang” at bay, if we are willing to engage a single foe.

 

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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