By Rick Cowman
We are a society used to fast food, microwave ovens, and remote channel changers – and we have been programmed to look for instant gratification. Even in our Christian pilgrimage we look for short cuts to maturity in Christ. But there are NO SHORT CUTS! In James chapter 1, verse 4, we read what God has to say about this subject: “Let the process (of endurance and patience) go on until endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character; men of integrity with no weak spots (Phillips)!”
We see here that God is not in a hurry! It takes time to grow spiritually. The process of spiritual maturity occurs over the long haul. Unfortunately, we are too much like the small child who thinks the trip is over when you come to the first stop sign on the road after leaving your house! Just like that child we also get weary of waiting to arrive at our purposed destination of Christ-likeness. We too have need of patience!
God is never in a hurry. He will take whatever time is necessary, and allow whatever circumstances necessary to get us to grow in our relationship with Him. Mushrooms grow up over night, but it takes years and years for an oak tree to mature. While we don’t see the outward signs of growth in an oak tree for several years, all the while the roots of that tree are digging deep into the soil. Why? So when the storms come years later, the tree will survive! It is the same in the Christian life. We can choose to be a mushroom, living at the surface level of a relationship with Christ; or, we can be an oak tree living out a deep, enduring commitment to Jesus Christ which will enable us to stand the storms in our lives! Psalm 1 tells us someone committed to Christ and His word will be “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.” If we are committed to endurance in our walk with the Lord, there will be fruit in God’s time!
God is in the people business. His building program has nothing to do with buildings or programs, but has everything to do with building the character of His Son, Jesus Christ into individual men and women! It took God 80 years to get Moses ready for 40 years of service. God’s way takes TIME! It takes patience and endurance to stay the course, and it requires repentance to get back on the course of maturity. But the process starts with a personal, vital relationship with Jesus!
There is no substitute for a patient, committed, enduring relationship with Jesus Christ and a dedicated, faithful practice of God’s word in our lives! You see, we will grow no further in our journey toward maturity than our last point of disobedience to what God has said in His word.
Let’s remember that true and lasting growth as a Christian comes as we patiently, daily apply God’s word to our lives and allow God to build Jesus’ character in us over the long haul. The Christian life is not a 40 yard dash, but a marathon! And if we’re willing to stay the course, God will grow us in His time. You see, God isn’t in a hurry! In fact, in the words of Oswald Chambers, “Rushing is always wrong; there’s always time to wait on God!”