Complete Abstinence is easier than perfect moderation. – St. Augustine
The above is one of the great truisms. Try it in your New Year’s resolutions and see how quickly you blow it. For years I learned during Lent that I can give up wine, oatmeal-raisin cookies, or wheat for forty days, but try perfect moderation and I hardly make past Ash Wednesday. Why do you think every diet book starts out with a very specific regime? They know moderation in what and how much we eat is harder than starvation or eating cabbage all day long.
The same goes with that ticklish “free will” we have been given by God. If he’d just prevent us from deviating from his plan we could pull it off. Instead he gives us a choice, in fact hundreds of choices in a short period of time, and waits to see if we can maintain devotion. So how do we pull it off? How do we dedicate our life to God?
I think we look back to Augustine’s message. Perfect moderation, perfect devotion, perfect anything requires more than will, it requires the heart. No diet works for long if you aren’t enjoying the results and your lifestyle. No devotion to God comes until we allow our heart to lead not our head. People of ordinary goodness walk in God’s way, but the devout run and jump in it.
This New Year take the plunge toward perfect devotion, and enjoy the feel of his magic waters.