What Growing in Faith REALLY Looks like
Change isn't neat and pretty. Nope. Change can be messy. As Christians, our desire should be to become more like Christ. Frankly, that requires A LOT of change. When I first started following Jesus I had no idea that progress meant things can look bad when they’re actually being worked of by God.
It's like putting a piece of furniture together. At first it’s neatly in a box, but it can't be used that way. So you have to take out all the pieces, which makes a mess, and begin the process. You have to do it in a specific order or it won't work. Finally, when you're done, the mess will be gone and you’ll have a product that's ready to be used for it's purpose.
It's no different with us. God is transforming us into the likeness of Christ. It’s during these times that our lives and situations look the messiest. We know that God is working behind the scenes and putting all the pieces together, but we have no idea what step He’s on or how much longer it will take. We only see the mess, the unfinished product. Weeks, months, and even years go by and we wonder if the promise will still come to pass or if we should just give up?
The answer is simple. We don't give up. We don't lose hope. We abide in Jesus and in the promise, trusting that He is faithful to fulfill EVERY promise he has made to us. I know it’s difficult. You may lose relationships, you will be persecuted and mocked, you will look foolish at times to other people, and what God instructs you do will not always make sense in the natural. However, at some point we have to resolve to follow Him no matter the cost, and trust Him with our whole heart. That’s the reason for the tests and trials; to develop your character so you can produce the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4
Let’s look at the story of the Israelites as an example, when they we’re fleeing Eqypt after 400 years of slavery.
God not only promised the Israelites freedom from the Egyptians, but also a land of their own. They would no longer be subjects to a King, but a free people governed by God. However, there would be obstacles between there current situation and the promise. The first one was the Red Sea. In order to get to the promised land they first had to cross the Red Sea. Oh, and did I mention that Egypt’s army was pursuing them as well? So turning back was not an option.
Now God could have led them a different way to the same destination. He didn’t have to take them through the Sea. So why did He? To show His glory, build their faith, and protect them.
He parted the sea and Israel crossed on dry land. Right after, He closed the waters and allowed the Egyptians to drown so they would no longer be a threat. This route led the Isrealites directly into the wilderness. It’s there that they were able to see God’s power one-on-one, and it’s also where God tested them. They were out of Egypt, but Eqypt was not out of them. God needed to free them from old habits and ways of thinking before He could entrust them with more.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 14:5
We may never know the entire reason God does something a particular way, but we can trust that His plan is perfect. It’s for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). The Israelites could have given up, or attempted to take matters into their own hands and go another way, but they didn’t. They trusted God and witnessed Him make a way where there was no way.
It’s easy to get disillusioned by the situation you're stuck in, the battle you're facing, or the trial that won't seem to end - and begin to doubt God's provision. I want to assure you that He's still at work. Your just in the middle right now and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. However, God has a bird's-eye view. He knows everything that lies ahead of you and is going before you to prepare the way. This isn't the the time to make decisions based on your circumstances or limited wisdom, it's crucial to be obedient.
Your transformation won't come without obstacles and opposition because challenge gives bith to growth. How can you reach new levels of faith in God if you're not challenged to believe bigger, prayer bolder, and walk by faith and not by sight? If you abide in Jesus and don’t give up, you WILL see the victory. Like the Israelite’s, you will see God do what only He can do. Nothing is impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26).
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6
Love &God Bless,