We’ve been talking about God’s work in our lives “little by little.” I wouldn’t doubt that some people would struggle with truly believing that God approves of such a slow means of growth and sanctification. For many of us, God’s words “Be holy as I am holy” ring in our ears and it seems to communicate: “Right now!”
But I believe that refers to our position in Christ: because “in Christ” we are holy in His sight (Ephesians 1:18). And the call to be holy in the Old Testament was a call to see the need of a Messiah and Savior who would take away sins.
So, what can we find in Scripture that will support this “little by little” concept? We’ve already viewed some, but let’s look at others.
Philippians 1:6 is one of my favorite verses: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NASB).
How do we want to read Philippians 1:6? Like this: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it…yesterday!” Unfortunately, our hearts think that’s what God really meant to say. We can easily envision God impatiently tapping His foot while His arms are folded across His chest. “When are you going to get perfect?” He cries–we think!
But that’s not the truth. The Apostle Paul wrote that we wouldn’t be perfect until the day of Christ Jesus–when each of us dies or Jesus returns. Until then, God will always be working on something in our lives. Yes, we will gain victory over areas of struggle…and then He’ll move on to point out the next thing He’s ready to work on.
Some time ago, I rejoiced in the Lord’s work in my life because an area of personal struggle seemed to be conquered. I felt victorious and I knew the Lord had worked mightily. Praise the Lord!
As that wonderful realization dawned upon me, a thought quickly popped into my mind: “Could it be that I’ve reached … perfection?” That realization energized me! Could it be that I’d actually reached what I’d been seeking all my life? My heart beat faster. It was almost too good to be true. (Yes, I am a recovering perfectionist. Just read my book: Why Do I Put So Much Pressure on Myself and Others!)
But within moments, I sensed the Holy Spirit gently tapping on my spirit’s shoulder, and as I turned my attention to Him, He smiled and said, “Kathy, you have done well in my power. Now here’s the next area I want to work on in you.”
“No! Don’t say that! I want to be perfect!” I cried out in my heart. “I don’t want something else to be a challenge. I just want life wrapped in a gift box with a perfect bow on top!”
But I knew that couldn’t be. I needed to be needy so that I would need God.
Does the thought of always having something to work on seem comforting or overwhelming? I hope it can be comforting. Because then you know God doesn’t expect you to become perfect on this earth. He accepts that He’ll always be working on something in your life.
Next time we’ll look at another verse that can give us hope in the midst of seeking sanctification (the process of growth).
(Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at www.freedigitalphotos.net)