Day twenty eight of The Purpose Driven Life is the final chapter devoted to my third purpose which is becoming like Christ. Warren closes this section with a discussion of the time it takes to mature in my faith. There are no shortcuts and no easy answers to reaching Christian maturity. It takes time and perseverance. God began His work in me the minute I became a Christians, but this work takes a lifetime to complete. As a matter of fact, I will not see the full completion until I reach heaven.
Warren provides several reasons why the process of maturing takes so long:
- I am a slow learner. A lesson often has to be repeated many times before I learn it. Too often I revert to old behavior patterns and need to be reminded of how I am to change.
- I have a lot to unlearn. I may have a lifetime of bad habits to unlearn. These cannot be unlearned in an instant. It takes time and dedication to do away with my bad habits.
- I am afraid to humbly face the truth about myself. The truth sets me free, but often first makes me miserable. If I am fearful about what I will discover if I honestly look at my character, I may keep living in denial.
- Growth is often painful and scary. Every change involves some loss. I need to be willing to face and deal with loss before I can grow.
- Habits take time to develop. As it takes a long time for bad habits to go away, so it takes a long time for new habits to develop. It takes dedication and practice to form new habits.
The chapter closes with discussion of how I can cooperate with God in the process of maturing. I need to believe that God is working in me even when I don’t feel like it; I need to chart my progress in a notebook or journal; I need to be patient with God and myself; and cannot allow myself to get discouraged. God is not finished with me yet, so I need to press on, taking encouragement from the past as I face the future.
Warren quotes the Bible twelve times using eight translations and paraphrases. Other than his use of The Message which does not accurately translate the verses he quotes, his use of Scripture is solid.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “there are no shortcuts to maturity.” I appreciated today’s chapter as it is easy to get discouraged by an apparent lack of progress in spiritual maturity. I have spoken about this a bit in past days, so forgive me if I am repeating myself.
Growth can be a discouraging process. My children provide a good example of this. I can see sometimes how my daughter so badly wants to be as big and as strong and as capable as my son who is two years older than she is. She wants to be able to run as fast as he runs and to be able to reach the things he can reach. She wants to be able to play with the toys he plays with. She is so often frustrated with her size and abilities. Of course she is only one year old and is able to do all the things a one-year-old should be able to do! Similarly I think many Christians are frustrated by their apparent lack of progress. Yet if God really is the one who has to do the work in us, we should not complain. Now naturally we need to do what we can to cooperate in His work – we need to feed ourselves with His Word and we need to learn what we can from other Christians – but ultimately if we are doing our part we need to wait for God to work maturity in us. It may go slower than we want, but God’s timing is not always our timing. We need to focus on the changes God has already made and realize that He will be faithful to make the changes we still want Him to make.
Tomorrow’s topic is Accepting Your Assignment