I went to one of my best friend's house and their white board had an illustration of a stick figure who had to learn the lesson of Is vs. Ought. You see, this fellow had an idea to bake a loaf of bread. Unfortunately, the bread did not turn out. The bread ought to have been delicious, but it was burnt. Now Mr. Stick-Man had two choices, he could dwell on his failure, or try the bread again, maybe paying a little closer attention to the recipe.
We are kind of the same. We know how we ought to be-- Loving, kind, productive, efficient, dedicated-- but are also faced with how we are which is often selfish, thoughtless, lazy, inept, and discouraged. As Christians we want to be how we ought, and it is on an even deeper level because we want to be this way in order to advance God's kingdom and bring Him glory. However, we are not perfect. So what do we focus on? Our goal of being a good ambassador for God's kingdom or our imperfections standing in our way?
Like most philosophical either or questions, the answer is a balance of both. We must be aware of what we desire for ourselves. We cannot give up our goals and New Year's resolutions! Desires are a reflection of the heart and motivation for the actions, it is necessary to have goals centered around the glory of God and crave the day sin will reign no longer and there will be absolutely nothing keeping us from seeing God in the entirety of His splendor. However, we cannot take the practical steps to get there without being aware of where we are starting from. Although we are children through the act of justification and cannot add to it, we are in some stage of our sanctification which we should be conscious of so we may grow stronger in Christ. I am by no means trying to undermine the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, in fact I think it is all God's grace that we progress! But we must be diligent to dwell in scripture and purge sin so He can work more fully. We do this by God's grace.