For many Christians, they want their spiritual growth like their food: fast.
Our culture has brought up Millennials to want and expect things fast. The hard thing about our culture is that not only do we want things fast, we want them to be of the highest quality as well. When a new app comes out, a new Netflix series, a new Facebook feature, or whatever it may be, we want it fast, easy to work, and of excellent quality – hopefully like nothing we’ve already seen or experienced. The problem with this Millennial expectation is that it’s created an incredible epidemic of impatience.
YOUR MATURITY AS A CHRISTIAN IS NOT A FAST FOOD MEAL.
The reality is that not everything will meet that expectation, resulting in impatience, resulting in annoyance/irritation, resulting in anger/frustration, and finally resulting in a distaste and rejection of *insert unmet expectation here.
Spiritual Maturity and Impatience
One of the many ramifications of this epidemic of impatience is that it’s seeped into the Christian’s spiritual growth.
Christians today are impatient when it comes to their spiritual maturity. They want to be like Jesus – fast and genuinely. But here’s the reality: we don’t mature overnight. As much as we would love to be perfectly loving, gracious, kind, forgiving, compassionate, and generous overnight, it’s just not going to happen.
All of Life
You see, the journey of sanctification (becoming more like Christ) is a “whole life” thing. Living a Christian life isn’t like wearing a new outfit. To wear a new outfit, you simply pick out a few pieces of clothing, purchase it, put it on, and you’re done! But living a Christian life isn’t just an outward change. The Christian is literally a “new creation.” Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, writes, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” And Jesus Himself while talking with Nicodemus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
A Christian is Born Again, and Therefore a New Creature.
If anyone has seen a newborn baby, you know that you’ll have to wait at least 4-5 years before you can have a somewhat coherent conversation with them. In the same way, the Christian life takes time. Sanctification takes time.
So, where do you start? Jesus, in John 17:17, says to His Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.” What does He mean? He means that we are sanctified (made like Jesus) through and by the truth. What’s the truth? The Word of God. Start with the Bible. Read it, reread it, read it again, and pray all the while.
In the same way, the Christian life takes time. Sanctification takes time. Yes, patience is a must.
The challenge that every Christian will have in this is to reject the notion that suggests you can change overnight, and prepare your heart and mind for a long, difficult, and seemingly impossible journey. Yes, patience is a must.
But what’s the beautiful thing about this long, difficult, and seemingly impossible journey? I can think of two things off the top of my head:
1) Indescribable joy throughout, and
2) You’re heading for Jesus.
This article was originally published on March 1, 2017: You’re Not Going to Mature Overnight by Isaac Dagneau.