There are really only two big strategies for building a good life. There will be dozens of variations for each, but in the end, there are only two things you must do to build a good life.
First: Do much more of what is good, true, and beautiful. This is the positive strategy, or what the Apostle Paul calls, “the put-on strategy.”
Second: Do much less of what is bad, wrong, and harmful. This is the negative strategy, or what the Apostle Paul calls, “the put-off strategy.”
Here are some put-on strategies: prayer, forgiveness, love, humility, service, generosity, kindness, encouragement, worship, trust, having a meal with good friends, kissing babies (preferably those who belong to your friends), watching YouTube videos of puppies, and the list could go on and on.
Here are some put-off strategies: alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, noise, stress, staying in a bad job, not telling the truth, covering up mistakes, refusing to work on a bad marriage, letting your kids run your life, wallowing in guilt, staying stuck in shame, complaining, criticizing others, comparing yourself with others, being cynical and sarcastic, acting like a victim, living with a sense of entitlement, not getting help for anxiety and depression, spending money you don’t have to buy stuff you don’t need and going into a debt you cannot afford.
What’s on your Put-On List?
What needs to be on your Put-Off List?
For the Apostle Paul, the Christian life is, by God’s strong grace, putting on and putting off, putting on and putting off, putting on and putting off.
It’s kind of like the Karate Kid movies (both the original with Ralph Macchio and the remake with Jaden Smith) where the Karate Kid had to go through what appeared to be boring, repetitive motions of putting off the jacket and putting on the jacket until he discovered he had developed capacities and competencies he did not have.
Put on. Put off. And do it again and again and again. That’s always been the way the Spirit of God works the transforming power of God into our lives.
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