Follow the Process (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 348)
1 Timothy 4:15 (NLT)
Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if perfection and instant transformation just washed over us as soon as we entered into new life in Jesus Christ? From that very moment onward, we wouldn’t have to worry about temptation or falling into sin, or renewing our minds daily or any of those things that are necessary in the believer’s life. We would be perfect and then there would really be no need for us to continue living on earth.
But God doesn’t do that. In his wisdom and love, he doesn’t save us and scoop us on up to heaven. Instead, he saves us and gives us the opportunity to grow, to mature, and to reflect his salvation and grace in the world. Growth is an ongoing process. We stop growing physically, but we never stop growing spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. One of the reasons God leaves us on earth to grow is because he wants to develop us to be more like him.
By nature, we are not fast learners. Most of us have to go back to the drawing board 100 times before we actually get it right. We have to retake the class God is trying to teach us until we learn what he intends for us to learn. Once we learn the lesson, we can move on. Some of us wonder why the same problems keep coming up in our lives. Well, it’s because we haven’t learned the lesson yet. You will keep encountering the same issues, the same attitudes, the same roadblocks until you learn what God is trying to teach you.
You can’t rush growth. It isn’t instant. It doesn’t happen overnight or within the same day. Growth takes time. This is why we are left on earth after we get saved — to grow, to become more like Christ. It is a process of choosing to take of what is old and put away the behaviors and habits that are no longer working, and to take on the new, to choose thought patterns and behavior that reflect your new life. Growth is painful and hard work but once you learn what God is trying to teach you, it will bring forth good works and abundant blessings.
Paul tells Timothy to “Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” The more willing you are to put in the hard work of becoming more like Christ on a consistent daily basis, the faster you will get to spiritual maturity. You have to follow the process, but you get to determine how long God’s classes are in session. God will hold them as often and as long as he needs to; if you take the class and pass the test, you can be sure you will develop habits that reflect God’s heart.
“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.”
— A.W. Tozer