Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time—there are no shortcuts to maturity.
While we worry about how fast we grow, God is concerned about how strong we grow. The journey of spiritual growth will last a lifetime.
We have already seen that this journey involves believing (through worship), belonging (through fellowship), becoming (through discipleship).
Why Does It Take So Long?
God could instantly transform us, but he has chosen to develop us slowly so that we won’t be overwhelmed. He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives.
-We are slow learners. We need repeated exposure.
-We have a lot to unlearn. We naively expect a quick solution to a long-standing, deep-rooted difficulty. We still have old habits, patterns, & practices that need to be removed and replaced.
-We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves. The truth will set us free but it often makes us miserable first. We cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude.
-Growth is often painful & scary. There is no growth w/o change; there is no change w/o fear or loss; there is no loss w/o pain. Even though our old ways were self defeating, they were at least comfortable & familiar. The unconscious worry is that if I let go of my habit, my hurt, or my hang-up, who will I be?
-Habits take time to develop. You can’t claim to be kind, unless you are habitually kind. You can’t claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest. A husband who is faithful to his wife most of the time isn’t faithful at all. Our habits define our character. The only way to develop the habits of Christlike character is to practice them. These character building habits are often called “spiritual disciplines”.
Don’t Get In A Hurry
-Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it. We may pray for a miracle, but we shouldn’t be disappointed if the answer comes through a gradual change.
-Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. Write down the insights & life lessons God teaches us about him, about ourselves, about life, relationships, & everything else. By reviewing our spiritual journal regularly we relearn lessons which we forget.
-Be patient with God and with yourself. We forget that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. Great souls are grown through struggles & storms & seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process.
-Don’t get discouraged. A delay isn’t a denial from God.
Remember how far we’ve come, not just how far we have to go. We are not where we want to be, but neither are we where we used to be.
Question to Consider: In what area of my spiritual growth do I need to be more patient & persistent?
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.