Spiritual Streak (Part 1)
By sis Sophia Tay
On some mobile applications or websites where people can learn languages for free, the lessons usually come with a streak counter. It helps to motivate the learner by showing the number of days he/she has spent practising, and by implication, improving in that skill. What happens is, if you miss practising for a day, your streak will be automatically reset to zero. It is awful to see a ‘zero’, yet it is incredibly difficult to keep the streak going unless the learner has made it a habit to do a lesson every day.
Why do we break our streak? Sometimes a person can be too busy to set aside time for practising, or maybe he does not pay much attention to the endeavour and forgets to do it day after day, even though he thinks and knows that he really wants to. We find that this kind of behaviour is very common elsewhere. Lots of people sign up for gym memberships at the start of the new year, but how many actually form a streak of going to the gym every week or every day? There can be many reasons and temptations like forgetfulness, procrastination (“maybe I will go tomorrow”), being emotionally influenced (“I’d rather sleep in”), or having more important things to do.
Sometimes we can also be like this when we try to live the Christian life. We really do want to obey God’s commandments every day but sometimes we just fall short. We know that it is possible for us to obey God, flawed as we are. After all, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all the ways as we are, yet he kept himself free from sin (Hebrews 4:14-16):
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
There indeed lived a person who did not sin throughout his entire life though it was not easy for him. Just looking at a 40-day period of Jesus' life will show us how difficult things were for him.
Matthew chapter 4 describes 40 days which Jesus lived through without sin as he was tempted by Satan. Forty days is an amazing feat. If we try looking back at the past week and count our Christian streak of perfect obedience to God’s commandments, what would our track record look like? The streak could easily be broken by little things such as saying untrue things about a person in an argument or lying because we were afraid of being ostracised for telling the truth. It is incredible how many little moments there are in life where we momentarily forget to be a Christian. There are lots of examples of temptations we can recall that come under what the Scripture calls the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) In the next article, we shall examine Matthew chapter 4 to see how some familiar temptations played out in Jesus’s experience.