When we look at our lives I believe that we need to be dealing with things at a different level than we see on the surface. In the Who Are You? post I wrote about what makes you who you are. It is the choices you make, which are based on the priorities in your life. Making choices should be about something at least one level away from the actual things being considered.
In mathematics, there is something called the fundemental theroem of calculus. The whole of which is too much to address in this post. However, the concept of the derivative is important. If you have a function that changes for different values, say over time, the derivative of that function will tell you how fast it is changing at any given point. For example, derivative of the speed of something is its acceleration. Say a car is going 60 MPH, and it has to stop. At the pure speed level we do not know what is happening. However, if we know the derivative, we might know that it is already decelerating, and by a lot. It is going to stop in time. Or we might find out that it is still accelerating. See how that information completely changes the picture?
“Why the math lession,” you ask. Well, because I believe that we need to be working on ourselves at least at the moral derivative level. With that as a basis, take a look at the things you do in your life. The question should not be, “why do you do them?” but rather, “why do you want to do them?” I have found that it is nearly impossible to change my behavior when dealing with it at the surface. It is treating the symptoms of the problem. You cannot change what you do, you have to change what you want to do.
I believe this is a concept that Paul addressed. In Romans 12:2 he says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We cannot be transformed by changing what we do. That is a fight you cannot win. It is like pushing a spring, as soon as you let go, it goes back. We must renew out minds. The greek word here is “nous,” – “the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining.” In other words, he is saying we have to change the way we feel, judge and determine.
I also find it interesting that in some germanic languages there no distinction in verbs between “I will do” and “I want to do”.