I worked in the computer service industry at a time when most employees came to the job with no prior technological experience. New hires made a lot of mistakes and were forced to call on their supervisor to “unlock” their computers. Some days the long-suffering, usually mild-mannered supervisor would reach his breaking point. Throwing his hands in the air, he would shout at no one in particular, “The problem is not in your set. You are the problem.”

The problem is not in your setThroughout our lives, we are tempted to shift responsibility. Whether it’s our health, our relationships, or our circumstances we’d rather excuse our behavior than take a close look at our weaknesses. Certainly, some things like the lines in airport security are totally out of our control, but many of our ongoing struggles stay with us because we “blame the set” instead of  admitting to any “operator error.”

We talk to people who agree with us or at least who won’t threaten our point of view. We focus on the actions of others instead of what we could change. We grab at quick fix solutions or marinate in our own frustration.

Honesty would open the door to progress, but it takes courage to examine ourselves.

Kingdom living requires our participation. The Holy Spirit will bring the fruit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and even self-control — but we must cooperate with the process. We can begin by looking in the mirror and admitting what we see. Recognizing the truth about ourselves means we are finally free to grow and change.

When “your set locks up,” here are some questions to consider:

  1. What have I done to contribute to the problem? Have I said anything that has unnecessarily escalated conflict?
  2. What have I neglected that has allowed the situation to develop?
  3. What does God’s Word say about my attitude, my words, or my actions as it relates to what I see in the mirror?
  4. What is one small thing I could do that would put me on a path to growth?
  5. Am I willing to ask for help? Who has wisdom or expertise in the area where I need coaching, teaching, or advice?

Asking questions like these is a bold move. It takes a confidence in the value we have in Christ to admit our need for growth. Our lives are beautiful gifts from God and he wants each of us to reach our full potential. The often-painful process requires honest introspection, but miracles will occur when the Spirit of God directs the process.


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