Start at the Beginning

beginning“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  -Lao Tzu

I love this quote for it’s strength and simplicity.  As a hiker, I can especially relate to the idea of tackling big hurdles one step at a time.  When you have many miles of trail out in front of you , it’s easier to stay focused on what’s directly in view.

The same could be said for our walk as Christians.  The act of being a follower of Christ is not something we check off a list or achieve in this lifetime.  It is a daily giving of our life to Christ and sometimes even a daily battle against temptation and doubt.  It’s a commitment that’s made for the long term while the world around us challenges our faith and our stamina.  It could be said that it’s an impossible task to follow God in the way that he commands, and if we view it as such, it will be an unrewarding life filled with rules and legalism.  But that’s not how God wants us to interact with him.  He wants a loving, caring relationship with us.  So let’s start at the beginning.

The maturation process of a Christian is not something that happens overnight.  As mentioned earlier, it’s a lifelong endeavor to grow in the knowledge of God and his grace.  We will constantly have to work at allowing the Holy Spirit to have more control over our lives and grow in his fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we look at this verse in 2 Peter, we’ll see that the characteristics of a Christian build upon one another:

” make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(2 Peter 1:5-8)

Now this is not to say that once we have a strong faith that we’re now set in that area and no longer need to work on it.  It doesn’t mean we just move to goodness and then to knowledge and self-control and so on.  It means that our growth as a Christian is a process, one which continually happens throughout our lives.  In fact, if no growth is evident in our lives, we can be sure that our relationship with God is suffering and we are out of step with the Holy Spirit.  Paul had to deal with this very issue with the church in Corinth.

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.  I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,”

(1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

If we are staying close to God and obeying his commands, we should eventually move away from spiritual immaturity and into a stronger faith, able to instruct others in true acts of godliness (1 Peter 2:2).  The key is to stay close to God.  Never outgrow your need for his word.  We should thrive on his instruction.  And remember, it’s a long but enjoyable journey…take one step at a time.

-Joe

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7 thoughts on “Start at the Beginning

    1. Joe Butler

      That’s right. Isn’t it funny how we try to rush God’s work. He knows what he’s doing and he will help us mature at just the right pace.

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