Anyone who owns an older home knows upkeep and maintenance are required, no matter how gracefully the house ages!
Our cedar shingle siding had gotten to the point of needing replaced all around the house. We’ve been picking away at this project for over a year, working around weather and work schedules. This is where we stopped last year:
That’s quite a difference, isn’t it?
There are a lot of stages involved start to finish for each section of wall, from removing the old shingles to staining the new. It’s quite the process!
The weather is warming up again, and this year we will begin working on the next section or two.
This project makes me think of our spiritual journey.
The day we decide to take Christ up on his offer of full forgiveness and his promise of eternal life isn’t the day we become perfectly obedient children. No, changing into the image of Christ takes the remainder of our lives. It’s a process!
My mom used to have a magnet that said, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet!” How true that is, of all of us. Each of us is a work in progress.
Are you struggling with who you are today as a follower of Christ compared to who you long to be? Be patient, you’re not done yet!
Are you struggling with who other Christ followers are now compared to who you expect them to be? Be patient, they’re not done yet!
There are old parts of us that need to be removed to make room for the new. Old ways of thinking, old habits, old behaviors . . . all start looking worn and shabby like those old cedar shingles. We long for the bright, new ways of thinking and behaving to come easily, but it takes time.
Imagine if on the first day of Kindergarten you learned everything you needed to know by the end of high school. That would be quite the day, wouldn’t it? Your brain would be bursting at the seams trying to wrangle quadrilaterals and E=mc2 and world history and cellular biology and . . .
Learning at school takes time, as each new concept builds on concepts grasped earlier. We don’t learn how to solve equations without knowing how to count, add, subtract, multiply and divide.
Our spiritual walk follows the same pattern. New replaces old, deeper truths build on more obvious ones, usually one step at a time. It’s a slow and steady marathon more often than a speedy sprint! Don’t give up if things aren’t changing at the pace you’d like them to.
Stay the course, learning to love God and His Word.
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:16 NLT).
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Take time to rest in His presence and meditate on Scripture.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105 NLT).
Choose to trust Him and His promises for you.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Time + Effort
There is a difference between us and a cedar shingle replacement project, though. The house does none of the work. It just receives.
On the other hand, we have a part to play in our journey of faith. God isn’t the only one doing the work! The very next verses in 2 Peter have this to say:
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
That’s quite a list! But aren’t you glad we’re working with God on this faith project? Remember, his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30)!
What’s the end goal we’re reaching toward? Peter finishes his thought this way:
“The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Can you look back in time from today and see how far you’ve come? I imagine there are quite a few changes that have taken place. Don’t lose heart in the working and the waiting–growth is a process.
Slow and steady, my friend—be patient, God isn’t finished with you yet!