Growing up in God takes time
We as individual are always in a rush and we need to learn that the development of Christ-like character in us and the fruit of the Spirit cannot be rushed because like physical growth and cultivated fruit maturing takes time. So if we burden ourselves with the worry of how fast we grow, our God in heaven is only interested on how strong we grow and how we grow – Philippians 1 vs. 6 – being confident of this that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Therefore, since discipleship is the process of conforming to Christ, the bible tells us that until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attending to the whole measure of the fulness [Eph. 4 vs. 13] – being Christ like is our final destination, a journey that will take us a life time to achieve. So far in our life we have seen the journey through believing (through worship) and belonging (through fellowship), but maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving it is, as it’s a gradual process – 2 Corinth. 3 vs. 18 – And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. So although God could instantly transform us into being like Christ, He chooses to do it little by little – Deut. 7 vs. 22 – The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you, so that we are not overwhelmed. As He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives since:
· we are slow learners – we often need to relearn a lesson many times to really get it, as no sooner have we learnt it have we forgotten it. The history of the Israelites illustrates this, how quickly we forget lessons taught to us by God.
· we have a lot in us to unlearn – since most of our problems and bad habits didn’t develop overnight it’s unrealistic to expect them to go away over night, this is where taking off old self and putting on new self comes in – [Rom. 13 vs. 12; Eph. 4 vs. 22 – 25 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; Col. 3 vs. 7 – 10, 14]. So since we have been given new nature at our conversion we still have old habits that needs to be worked on.
· we are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves – even though we know the truth will set us free, the fear of what we might discover if we honestly face our character defects holds us in bondage, so unless we allow God to shine His light on our failures and hang ups, we cannot begin to work on them, so we need to have a humble, teachable attitude.
· growth is often a painful and scary process – we need to know that there is no growth without change and no change without fear, to let go of old ways in order to experience new. Not to fear that we may loose our identity if we let go of our habits which will ultimately slow us down.
· habits take time to develop , as character is the sum total of our habits – we can’t claim to be faithful if we are only some of the time, or to have integrity if we are not honest. So to develop habits of Christ like character we need to practice them – 1 Tim. 4 vs. 15 – Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress; so if we practice things over time we are bound to get good at it.
Lessons learnt on Day 28
So as we grow spiritually we need to believe that God is working in our lives even when we don’t feel it, to expect gradual improvement – Ecc. 3 vs. 1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; to try and keep a journal of lessons we’ve learnt – Psalm 102 vs. 18 – Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD; 2 Tim. 3 vs. 14 – But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it; and review them – Heb. 2 v. 1 – We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away; to be patient with God and ourself as God’s timetable is not the same as ours and is always on time – as great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering – James 1 vs. 4 – Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything; and for us not to be discouraged, as a delay is not a denial from God – Hab. 2 vs. 3 – For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.