Friday, July 27, 2007

change takes time

I think too many times, too many of us Christians have bailed out of a commitment to work on an issue, because we did not see an immediate breakthrough. But change takes time. Yes, there are breakthroughs by faith at times, but even most of those times we find that growth in grace in regard to whatever issue it is we're working on, takes time. We may sense and see lack of progress, or even at times a falling back into our old ways. We must not give up, but repent and press on by faith.

When we do so we will find God's grace there for us, in forgiving and cleansing ways in God's love for us. But that doesn't mean all the sudden we've arrived. We need to keep "our feet to the fire" and keep trusting and obeying God in regard to the issue, so that in the long haul we will change, and become different people, more and more like God's Son, more and more his ways becoming "second nature" to us.

What might you like to share on this?

10 comments:

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I have left you a comment also in response to yours on my blog.

It's not commitment itself I bail out of but THE commitment, to follow hard after Christ.

I recently have stumbled, almost to the point of falling flat on my face, in an area of sin that I thought I'd conquered years ago, where I thought obedience had become, as you have said, second nature to me. And even though the sin is primarily in thought rather than deed, it took me quite by surprise. And, my sense of dismay continues as I see my own spiritual condition in light of the fact that, even as I write this comment, the Holy Spirit reminds me that God Himself, in His graciousness, has allowed the circumstances to be such that they prevent me from falling totally; so even this faint shred of goodness has nothing to do with me at all, only His mercy.

And so, we are back to your comment on my blog – it really is all about progressive sanctification. Thank you, both there and here with your post, for bringing back into focus this essential truth.

Ted Gossard said...

Susan, I hear you, sister. I can identify with you completely, in my own way. Thank God for his grace and mercy to us.

To follow hard after Christ- it's so easy for me to get sidetracked or get caught up in something that gets me away from that. Not that I intend to do so.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted,

I've come to realize that most of the time, change takes place slowly, imperceptible to the human eye.

Sometimes, we get impatient and disappointed when it seems we don't make the progress we should, but God will complete the good work He began in us.

Ted Gossard said...

ESI, Yes. It's important to remember that the oak trees God likens his servants to become in Isaiah, just don't grow to be that, except over many years. But it happens only as we continue on in the Lord, despite our slowness and setbacks in the way of holiness. And as you say, God is faithful, we can count on that; he's always for us and at work towards this end.

Ted Gossard said...

This reminds me of a Chuck Swindoll book written some years back, entitled: "Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back".

I think when we do fail in regard to an issue we're working on it's easy just to cave in and give up. I guess I did mention this on the post.

And it's important for us to realize that God is ALWAYS for us. That because of Christ, there is never a time or occasion we can't get up again, and by confession with the forgiveness and cleansing it brings, dust ourselves off and pursue righteousness and the following of Christ anew, again.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I loved the Swindoll book - because it was so descriptive of my life - I do pretty much everything I do with great energy - so when I mess up, I do that with great energy too - so I could really identify with his "word pictures"

I think sometimes the dismay we feel when we "mess up" is just plain old pride - we thought we were better than that, past it - so now we're embarrassed.

It is wonderful to know that He promises to finish the work He began in us no matter how long and adruous the process is.

Ted Gossard said...

Susan, I think God's promises to us in Christ and his faithfulness are what keep us going, and trusting in him and learning to better follow Christ.

I kind of look at our present life as kind of like the doctrine of purgatory, in which I don't believe. But all of the people there love the Lord and are being purged of sin and sins. This is the first stage of heaven for most saints, in that doctrine.

But unlike so many, I don't see all this as automatic. We still must respond, "cut off" the offending member of our body, not drift or turn away from God's holy commandment and grace to us in Christ. (And I've been all across the board on that one in my life)

Ted Gossard said...

I mean all across the board as to what I believe on that issue, doctrinally.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Gee, "all across the board" and there I was, hoping you were just a sinner like me....

Ted Gossard said...

Susan, I meant with reference to the doctrine I was thinking about there.

Yes indeed, I am a sinner just like you.