Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It Takes Time

I fall on my face A LOT. And when I get back up and try again, it isn't long before I fall again. Again and again I fall and become wounded and again and again I get back up and wonder how much more falling I can take. Thoughts creep in causing me to doubt and I grow weary.  I get frustrated because these things God commands of me seem to be the hardest things to do.

I was telling my husband just last night about how I grow frustrated with myself for not getting it right and for taking so long to learn the things of God. Somehow I have it built-in my head that He expects me to get it right --right then. Although the Christian walk requires a heart change and isn't something we can just do on our own, I recognize my need to be what He has called me to be and I tend to rush it. I grow impatient and my frustrations do nothing but land me in a puddle of discouragement.

This morning, I was reading the Parable of the Sower in the book of Luke, in which Jesus spoke of three types of hearers. First, there is the hearer that never really hears and instead Satan takes the seed (God's word) before it can be planted so that the person can never be saved. Then there is the hearer who hears and receives it with joy but since he or she is not rooted in it, they only believe for a while and fall away. Third is the hearer who hears and accepts it but the seed is later choked by riches and cares of the world. Lastly there is the hearer who not only accepts the word but endures wholeheartedly with steadfastness....they "bear fruit with patience."
"As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience." Luke 8:15 ESV
It takes time. There it is..the answer to my frustrations straight from God himself and His timing couldn't have been more perfect. It takes time and patience to grow and bear fruit-- I'm not just a slow learner afterall. It's not expected that change come overnight and that idea is merely a lie from Satan- meant to discourage us from enduring. It doesn't come easily because if it did, we would all be doing it and no one would ever fall away.
Living in the flesh while being led by the Spirit requires constant focus, dedication and endurance and if you take your eyes off Him for a split second you run the risk of falling. If you don't guard your mind and capture every thought, you wind up with a mess in your head that eventually makes it way to the heart. I've heard many people say that you can go overboard with your faith but that tells me that those people were never serious to start with.
Even though He is working in us always - we still battle the flesh. The human side of us wants to come out and run the show. It's inevitable that we will come out with cuts and scrapes if we try to go against the flow. But over time, if we endure, the hope is that our flesh gets a dose of discipline from the head disciplinarian Himself.
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13
Notice it doesn't say, "He who tries" or "He who endures for a while". He calls us to endure until the end..no matter how hard it gets or what it takes. He also promises to walk with us if we follow Him, meaning we constantly give up what we want for what He wants.
For me it's reassuring to know that He doesn't expect me to get it right immediately, and to be changed in such a short time. Changing doesn't depend upon us, and if it did the change would only be on the surface--superficial change. Since He works on His own time and He knows what He's doing, we can rest assured that true change will come in time---IF WE ENDURE. I'm quite sure that if He worked too fast on us, we would suffer from shock of seeing all our junk at once. And I'm not sure that my heart could take it all at once.

Therefore, I appeal to you to to endure and persist. Keep getting back up because it's in those falls that we grow character and learn humility. Never give up.

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