“Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth.” – Rick Warren
Scripture describes the relationship people have with God as a walk: For example, Genesis 6:9 says, “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” In 1 Peter 2:21, Jesus invites us to follow Him, to walk in His footsteps. In Galatians 5:16 (ESV) we are commanded to “walk by the Spirit.” And in Ephesians 4:1 (NASB) we are asked to “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” When we stop to think about what’s required in order to physically walk, we can draw some parallels to the Christian life. It’s a process of making steady progress over time.
Steady progress may not look flashy and draw a lot of attention because our culture wants everything faster, more efficient, and quicker. But slow and steady is the way to go. One quiet time after another. One worship encounter after another. One Bible study after another. One act of service or random act of kindness on top of another. Each one by itself may not seem life changing, but the cumulative effect produces life changing results. Spiritual progress is made through building and using spiritual disciplines.
Take the Bible. The Bible is not a book to be speed read. Rather it is a book to be read slowly, meditatively, and thoughtfully. It is a book to be memorized. It is a book to be consumed in small daily portions. The steady and systematic reading and study of God’s word produces valuable insight, revelation, and transformation over time.
Every year, Northpoint Church in Atlanta holds a two-day event for church leaders called the Drive Conference. It is designed to inspire, equip, and refuel church leaders for the road ahead. As good as those conferences are, no one single event can sustain us for long, let alone forever. That is true of our individual lives as well. No program or study will ever suffice to give us all we need. God can use events like Drive. God can and has used programs and special studies. But those things will not have the impact on our lives as the slow and steady diet of private devotions, small group participation, and weekly corporate worship. Those are the things that God will use to make slow and steady progress in your life.
Words like faithfulness, steadfastness, perseverance, endurance, and persistence remind us that the Christian life is an endurance event, not a 100 year dash. Regardless of what season of life we are in, or how long we have been walking with God, we can make progress by learning as we go and continually drawing strength from the resources God gives us as we work to be the person we want to be in 5 years.
- How do you define process in your spiritual life?
- What can you do this week to make slow and steady progress in your walk with God?