Five days a week, I am a DJ on a Christian Radio Station, Z Radio the Mix. It’s a volunteer gig, but I really enjoy it because it allows me to follow a morning routine that I enjoy, talk about my amazing Savior, Jesus, and support two ministries I believe in. When you are a DJ, it is best to do a little research about the artists, their songs, upcoming events etc. The music is the star of the show, but I like to throw in some fun stuff as well. When I recently played Harry Connick Jr singing the song Amazing Grace, I looked up the origin of the song. There are some conflicting facts of the story, but from what I can gather John Newton wrote the song from 1772-1779. This man was a slave owner and slave trader, and this song came from the conviction that he was wrong in his actions. Hundreds of years later, and a few minor changes later, this song is still thought to be played 10 million times a year! It is on over 11,000 albums! John Newton changed his ways, and many generations have enjoyed this beautiful humbling song.
That is mind blowing!
What struck me, was the years that it took to write. I, obviously, wasn’t there nor did I know John Newton personally, but I do know our God. In 1772, He started writing, feeling that correction in his soul. But the song didn’t just get written in a day, nor did he stop selling slaves that very second either. It was a process. It wasn’t finished until 1779. While there are certainly instant conversions, like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. Most of us have a testimo ny that was a process. Even after salvation, how we learn and mature is a process. Think about the Israelites, we often discuss how an eleven-day journey took 40 years, because they didn’t have the character needed to take ownership of the Promised Land. You can see God knew that, earlier in the story. In Exodus 13:17, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So, God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.”
Notice at the two bolded sections above, The Israelites were armed for battle physically, but God didn’t lead them through Philistine country, because He knew they weren’t ready for war mentally. God knows His people, and sometimes we talk of God’s timing as if He is being slower than we would like, and sometimes that is true. It is also true, that we need to be ready for the battle at the next level. There is always a battle, usually several, to get to the Promise Land (have the breakthrough, get the promotion, or grow the Ministry etc.). Are you ready? God is calling you up, and it takes a process to get you where you can withstand and persevere what is coming. I will admit, I have been called to a ministry that is so much more difficult than I thought God would ever entrust me with. Some days are very discouraging, and I start to feel overwhelmed. The scripture that often encourages me is 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. While I feel beat up by the world at times, this scripture just reminds me to keep perspective during the process, the “why” we are choosing to persevere and endure. If you can take your mind off the circumstance, and focus on the why, you can keep going forward. The Apostle Paul tells you the why in chapter 12, verse 10 says, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We endure the process of maturation for Christ! He died a horrific death so we could be reconciled to God today on earth and in eternity. This gift was free of charge and came from a love for us that we cannot even fathom! When we choose Christ as our Savior, He will be right there with us during the process, but we must keep going. One step at a time. If you don’t know what the next step is, keep doing the last thing you are sure He told you to do. Don’t let your past distract you, don’t let sin distract you, just keep stepping one step at a time.
The Bible describes this process as “continue to work out your salvation” (Phil 2:12). It’s not that we must earn our way to heaven, this refers to after we have accepted Christ, we must continue to mature in Christ and become more Christ-like. What is ironic, is that we must be willing, but the Holy Spirit does a lot of the work. Without Him, we wouldn’t even notice most of our wrong doings. It is through His correction that we learn and grow in Christ. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” This process is moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. God is much more concerned about your character than your title or position. Yet, He provides grace and mercy to help you in every step!
Even the length of the process provides value. God often gives you a vision of what is ahead, and while you think it’s fruition will be tomorrow, it is often years or even decades away. This time allows us to build faith, character, and trust with our Heavenly Father. We must come to a place where we truly believe He has our best interest at heart, and He wants the very best for us. In that waiting, we often look for substitutes or get distracted (remember the Israelites?).
1. The path to the goal (the breakthrough, the promotion, the new level, ministry growth, maturation, etc.) is a process.
2. God will never promote us above where our character is.
3. There is usually a time of faith, character, and trust building during this process, don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Stay in the Word, prayer, fellowship, and have an accountability partner where necessary.
4. Keep your kingdom perspective! God is willing to give you peace and joy beyond the circumstances, just ask!
In this instantaneous society, we often feel frustrated by this process, I know I do! God’s ways are different than ours, but we can trust Him and His ways are perfect! Keep going brothers and sisters, we have work to do!