Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Long Journey

Scripture pictures the spiritual life as walking, putting one foot ahead of the other (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:15; Romans 6:4). The Christian life is also pictured as a race (Hebrews 12:1,2; 1 Corinthians 9:24-26; 2 Timothy 2:5), a battle (Ephesians 6:10-13; 2 Timothy 2:3,4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6), an exercise regimen (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 5:14; 1 Corinthians 9:27). This implies a long process of growth, where we have not yet arrived at who we should be (Philippians 3:12-16; 1:6; 1 John 1:8-10). But nonetheless, we are not to remain infants, but press on toward growth in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:11-13; 1 Peter 2:1,2). We are therefore left with the picture of a gradual, sometimes halting, progress from who we are to who we will be.
This must be seen from the perspective that those who have put their faith in Christ have been declared righteous before God based on Christ's work (Romans 3:21,22; 8:32,33; Titus 3:5,6). Also, Christ has promised to bring us victorious through this world to dwell with Him forever (Romans 3:87; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 5:11-13). But even now we have God working in us to change us (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:3; Philippians 2:13), though it is not always an easy or a quick process. Nor is this is something we tackle alone but with the help of others in our life (Hebrews 10:24,25; 12:12,13; Galatians 6:1-5), for we are part of a larger body (Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 2:19; Romans 12:4,5).

What I am left with, after all this is considered, is a long trek through life in pursuit of becoming like Christ. I am left with a reluctance either to sit in judgment on or too highly commend myself or others (1 Corinthians 4:3-5; Romans 14:4; James 4:11,12). There is still room for the correction that I (Proverbs 28:13; Psalms 19:12,13; 139:23,24) and others (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Matthew 18:15) need. All of this is done with the realization I still have a long way to go. Also, I am able to deal with things one step at a time. I do not have to fool myself into believing I have attained near perfection. I can deal with each issue on the issues involved rather than being forced to use some one-size-fits-all spiritual gimmick. And when I fail, I can get back up and into the fight rather than being devastated by every setback. I can continue in spite of repeated failures, trusting in the power of God to ultimately pull me through. For it is only as we see who we really are that we can begin to change.  

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