Growing up I had a Sunday School teacher that was quite fond of reminding us that we were all a work in progress. While I can’t absolutely prove it I’m pretty sure she had a song that went a long with this concept.
I really wish spiritual transformation wasn’t such a process. I’m tired of making the same mistakes over and over. I’m done with being lured in by the same temptations.
The other day my oldest son, Jett, chose to make a few decisions that were less than smart. He had once again been caught directly, and in my opinion, purposefully disobeying something we had engaged in lengthy conversations about.
I was right to be upset and disappointed in his decisions, but my reaction was equally as devastating. I responded in anger saying things to him in a tone and spirit that were quite hurtful. Plain and simple I had lost my temper with him.
About 15 minutes later I sat there on the edge of his bed. With his face buried in his pillow crying, I asked him to forgive me for the way I had responded to him.
I couldn’t help but feel defeated. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had to ask him to forgive me for losing my temper with him. Shouldn’t this be something I have control over by now? Shouldn’t I be mature enough to control my emotions? Why do I have to continue to hurt the people around me that I care so much about with my sin?
I’m in no way making excuses for my behavior but, I’m learning that you can’t microwave spiritual formation. We want the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness to be evident tomorrow. But I think there is a reason that Jesus likens our spiritual growth to trees (Jesus said, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’). Because it’s a process and sometimes a slow one.
But this is the incredible beauty that God has called us to. It’s not a flawless process but a journey marked by His grace. It’s not a stale existence characterized by a mindless existence simply waiting for eternity. Not even close. We’ve been invited to connect with God each and every day as He brings about this incredible transforming process in our lives right in the midst of this beautifully broken world.