Who we are is always changing. What we often forget is that the changes are the consequences of small and seemingly insignificant choices. What deludes us is the idea that there is no cost to be borne by the choices we make. We can indulge our weakness or succumb to temptation or acquiesce to evil here and there and nothing will happen. We treat sins as if they are isolated evils that have little to do with who we really are or what we really believe. Underneath this insulation, we find that our choices are not inconsequential. We are affected by our choices -- both for good and for evil.
The tragedy is that we tend to focus more on the pace of change (how often) than the what of change. We can allow certain evils in our lives without consequence -- just not too often or too much. We treat holiness and faith as if they were diets imposed upon us. Every now and then we go off the wagon. We eat what we should not and then we pay for it and get back on the wagon. The great lie we want to believe is that these moments of indiscretion are isolated and do not affect us on the whole. It is a great lie for what it means is that we dance occasionally with evil but it will not really affect us -- who we are and what we believe. We can dine with the devil now and then but keep him at bay for the rest of the time and the rest of our lives. It is a great lie but still a lie.
It is direction that matters. To which direction are we oriented -- toward God and His grace in Christ or toward the world and its idolatry? The notion of regular church attendance is not that it offers immunity from sin and temptation or refuge from the evils of the world but that it orients us toward the means of grace and the Christ who is in those means and works through those means. The Spirit blows where and when He wills but we know He wills and works always in the Word and Sacraments. The Church is not a club of people with good intellects, great wisdom, and godly piety but the Church is sinners redeemed, reclaimed, restored, and reoriented toward the power of God that does transform the mind, grant holy wisdom to the heart, and move us to become what God has declared us to be.
Whether we long for life outside the discipline of the Lord's House on the Lord's day around the Word and Table of the Lord or have forsaken all contact with the people of God gathered around the means of grace, such choices orient us in the wrong direction and move us on a path away from the Kingdom of God. This is what we need to recover -- the realization that our choices matter, that any dance with evil moves us further from the godly dance of faith, and that our direction either toward and away from the Church and the means of grace results in real effects upon us, our lives, and our death.
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses [he means the I], into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing towards the one state or the other.” - See more at: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2013/09/dr-kreeft-identity/#sthash.wEAQLYoh.dpuf