“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – Ephesians 3:17-19.
Have you ever reflected at least for a moment, why God just doesn’t give us the stage cues we need to guide us in the direction we need to go. Or better yet, why doesn’t God just change us? It would make things a whole lot simpler.
God always makes the right choices. If God made the decisions for me, I would not struggle with the same old problems and continually make the same old mistakes. I wouldn’t be wrong so often. My opinions wouldn’t get in the way of my growth. No more anger, impatience or even worse indifference to what is happening around me. No more hypocrisy. Yes, there would be bumps in the road, but I would not pay them any mind because with God as my GPS, I will always get to where I need to to be. Life would be much simpler.
It would also take a lot less time to grow and to become more like Jesus. In spite of my intentions my path to holiness is pretty slow. Think about it for a second. If God wanted to, He could have made us instantly perfect the moment we accepted Him as Lord and Savior. He could completely deliver us from our clinging sins in the blink of an eye. Life would be simpler.
So why not perform another miracle? Why doesn’t He simply pick me up where I am and turn me into a holier, mature and loving Pastor Marty? It would be simpler, but not better. The truth is God is always changing us bit by imperceptible bit, gradually and patiently. Look back at who you were one year ago, three years ago, ten years ago. Can you see the Lord refining you? If you are still where you are, then maybe you are not taking the steps and accepting the changes needed to grow. Our tendency is to lose motivation if we don’t see results, but we need to remember that God often grows us in silent, subtle intervals.
So take the steps you need to grow. Celebrate the rare times when spiritual development can be measured in miles and takes place overnight, but daily delight in God’s faithfulness in the small steps that we take. Using small, slow and persistent growth to change the entire world is God’s method of change. 2 Peter 3:8 says, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” So don’t look on spiritual growth, regardless of pace, as being too slow. What we think is God’s slowness is God’s patience, mercy and perfect timing.
God wants me to be holy, but that’s not His only goal for my life. He wants me to learn to treasure my Savior and humbly depend on Him for everything in my life.
- God desires that we not only know about Jesus, but that we become like Jesus. What might this look like?
- Granted, spiritual growth takes time and one day God will accomplish His objective of making us like Christ. But why does the process have to take so long for change and growth to become a reality?
- While God accomplishes all spiritual growth, He uses means. What are some of the means He uses to bring about growth? Which of these do you find most helpful?
- What can we do this week to change and grow in Jesus?