‘So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”’ (v3) 1 Samuel 7:3–9

Some say, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. The first person recorded as saying this was Bernard of Clairvaux, the leading Cistercian of the twelfth century. He declared, ‘l’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs’ or ‘hell is full of good wishes and desires’.

An intention is something planned, yet is never more than an idea until put into practice. Many of us have made authentic responses to God, only to admit sometime later that they amounted to little by way of practical effect. One good reason why Jesus talks of the importance of fruit as evidence of a life surrendered to God.

We have discovered the importance and power of confession and restoration. Whilst this remains an inexhaustible process, if we keep doing the same thing time after time expecting different results, some would define this as madness.

Permanent change involves a complete adjustment in behaviour. Once forgiven, it might be useful both to ask God to show me why it is that I seem to make the same mistakes continually and to create some different slabs with which to pave my pilgrim’s path; a pilgrim being anyone on a journey in pursuit of God.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Num. 23:18–20; Psa. 18:1–6; Matt. 7:15–23; 18:21–35.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: What’s the harvest you see in your life today? What changes in behaviour would it be good to consider?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me in making those adjustments that enable me to live a more fruitful life serving You. Amen.’

Photo by redcharlie and Max on Unsplash

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.