Contrary to popular belief, most things in life do not happen over night, good or bad. There are few, if any, overnight successes, no marriages (at least that I have ever been exposed too) that thrive without diligent effort and commitment, and the list goes on. Rather, most areas of our lives are a reflection and result of our daily habits that, when consistently exercised, produce fruit in our lives. The question then begs to be asked, is the fruit ‘ripe’ or ‘rotten’ and how do we consistently produce ‘ripe’ fruit?
It is said by author Jim Collins, in his book ‘Good to Great,’ that we must confront brutal reality in our lives. If we are unwilling to take personal responsibility for the results we are currently getting in life, then we eliminate the opportunity to make the changes necessary. If you want an area of life to produce ‘ripe’ fruit, one must take PERSONAL responsibility for its development.
Many areas of life can be looked at to dig into this idea. One that most of us have personal experience with is marriage. How is it that over 50% of marriages end in divorce? If we stop to think about this alarming statistic, it would tend to indicate that a much larger percentage (likely 70-80%) are unhappy and have ‘rotten’ fruit evident daily. The truth is that things don’t go bad in a marriage in an instant. Bad fruit in a marriage is the result of our daily habits and belief systems, acted on, over time. Many people judge, and respond to, their partners actions and judge their own personal good intentions. You and I probably tend to want the other partner to work hard because that will make OUR lives easier, but we really don’t want to have to do the hard work ourselves. While I am of the belief that a marriage of love, understanding, and togetherness is not rooted in romance, but in worship, I also understand that no one gives grace better than someone who is convicted that they need it as well. I appreciate what author Paul David Tripp says in his book ‘What Did You Expect?’ “View yourself as a marital mason. You are daily on the job adding another layer of bricks that will determine the shape of your marriage for days, weeks, and years to come.” … “We want the good things to come to us without the hard work of laying the daily bricks that will result in the good things.” … “You must understand that a good marriage is not a mysterious gift. No, it is, rather, a set of commitments that forges itself into a moment-by-moment lifestyle.”
You want a life changing environment to grow in your marriage, finances, relationships, etc.?
1) Begin by confronting brutal reality. Stop taking your own advice if your best thinking put you in the spot of unhappiness. As a good friend of mine would always say, “Analyze your most dominant assumptions.”
2) Refuse to act on unspoken expectations any longer and get rid of the attitude of ‘arrival.’
3) Find a mentor whose life exemplifies the fruit you desire and learn what seeds they have planted to grow.
4) Plant those daily seeds of development that, when watered and cared for, will soon grow into an environment changing forest.
Life can be like running up a down escalator. The minute you stop moving forward, you are going backwards.”
Always remember that hopelessness in any area of ours lives is ONLY a way of seeing, NOT a state of being. Your kids are the voice to a generation of people whom you will never meet and they deserve your best efforts. Resolve to act COURAGOUSLY and move from a wandering generality in life to living as a specific intent! Find a mentor who has the fruit on the tree you desire and develop the daily habits of success and ‘ripe’ fruit in your life. Be a LIFE changer!