Spiritual steps forward... and back

I read a moving and thought-provoking article (link here) on spiritual transformation the other day. It included excerpts from a four hour conversation between Larry Crabb, Dallas Willard and a guy I've never heard of called John Ortberg , all about how true transformation and change deep in our character - heart - soul - whatever comes about in the Christian life.

Their insights were fantastic and I felt so spiritual after reading it, and keen to put a lot of things into practice. I was quite convicted of a lot of selfishness, anger and judgmentalism as well, and was very ready for God to change me.

Too bad then, that I managed to lose it and be completely grumpy with everyone around me for the next half day.

Unfortunately I wasn't very surprised. This is all part of a regular pattern. Whenever I've been interested in real change and growth and have taken steps to pursue it, I've been appalled at just how horrible I end up being later on.

Is it a case of 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction' and I'm still trying to change in my own strength? Or is it just the inevitable challenge from the other side?

I wonder if this is the case for most Christians? We read, get inspired, and then get deflated because we end up being even more hopeless than we thought we were. It's enough to make you think that real spiritual change here and now is a vain hope and we should just get on with being polite and reasonable to each other, and wait for heaven. It's easier to run another program at church than to put yourself out there and wait for God to do his internal work on your heart.

Trouble is, I'm just not satisfied with that answer. If Christianity is true and Paul was not exaggerating, I'm convinced that God wants us to be more and more 'conformed to his image', each day, in body, emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, language, actions.

I'm committed to pursuing this further and putting up with and confessing the rubbish that comes out of me in the meantime.