Tuesday, August 05, 2014

This week's lesson: growing up in Christ

It takes a long time to grow up.

As a child, after all, you could exercise, eat right, and "think tall" every day -- but those pencil-marks on the doorframe still didn't go up fast enough. No, aside from the occasional growth-spurt, you had to settle for a steady, slow growth to maturity.

Likewise, we can do all the right things spiritually -- we can pray, read the Bible, and serve others . . . we never seem to mature fast enough; we never seem to see the growth we'd like in wisdom, love, and joy. In fact, even our "spiritual growth-spurts" seem to leave us with little more than the awareness of just how far we have to go.

That's why quick-fixes are so popular; that's why we're fascinated by ideas such as "the Second Blessing," "the Baptism of the Holy Spirit," and "the Latter Rain." Like spiritual steroids, they promise instant growth, incredible power, and a quick fix to all our troubles.

Yes, they promise -- but do they deliver?

That's why I keep coming back to Eugene Peterson's definition of the Christian life as "a long obedience in the same direction." Sanctification is like marriage, in other words: the little things we do every day often mean more than the big things we do now and then.

To be sure, this kind of growth is slow -- painfully slow; that's why it's easy to get impatient.

But God gives me all the time I need for this kind of growth.

In fact, I have all eternity.

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