Aware of this exact fact and secure in the knowledge that the One who has started a good work in you will see it through to completion until the day that Christ Jesus comes. — Philippians 1:6
There is no short cut to sanctification, which consists of a steady increase throughout one’s life in one’s trust in God. Trying to get around having genuine spiritual experiences by taking short cuts is going to get you nowhere. If we continue to live according to our old sin nature, our efforts to please God will inevitably be fruitless. If one looks for blessings in the wrong cisterns, they will find themselves in a spiritual desert. There are no short cuts to reaching maturity, which is defined as an ever-increasing level of trust in God.
Jacob was ninety-seven years old when he finally comprehended this reality. However, this realization did not come until after the Angel of the Lord had dislocated the hip joint of Jacob. Jacob did not give up his struggle until after he had spent his entire life attempting to do it on his own. And until Jacob “slept with his fathers,” the exquisite limp that he had carried with him throughout his life was an ever-present reminder in his body. Jacob discovered the hard way that there are no short cuts to maturity or sanctification, which is a lifelong process of becoming more dependent on God’s guidance and provision.
Scripture makes it quite apparent that reaching a position of spiritual growth is not a one-time event. The experiences of a large number of saints suggest that they believed this to be the case, up to the point where, like Jacob, they were brought to the end of themselves, and until they, too, reevaluated their relationship with God and became as innocent as children. Sanctification, which is defined as the process of becoming more dependent on God, takes place over the course of one’s entire life and cannot be rushed in any way.
Sadly, some younger Christians are forced into leadership positions before they have the opportunity to fully comprehend this reality. Others try to expand their horizons by taking any number of other paths, all of which lead nowhere in the end. Some people have the misconception that the initial experience of joy after becoming a Christian is the high point rather than the beginning of their spiritual journey. However, there are no short cuts to sanctification because it is a lifelong process that involves growing more trusting of God. It is possible to gladly recollect former mountaintops or experiences of spiritual benefit, and euphoric actions from the past may be recognized as having been performed in the flesh, according to the Eternal Perspective.
But none of these are sufficient to rest upon in the spiritual path that we have all begun, but they will all be utilized in the everlasting plan, for a life that genuinely cries out, “Thy Will Be Done.” Because God causes everything to work out for the good of those who put their trust in him, and because God restores the years that have been eaten away by the pests of life, but developing the ability to put one’s faith in God is a process that lasts a lifetime.
On the path to spiritual development, there are no short cuts. Trust in God is a process that continues throughout one’s life. When this fact is recognized, the challenges of the past will have been validated as having had a significant purpose. As soon as this reality is acknowledged, the joys of the past will be seen in the proper light. This is because God uses everything that happens in the life of a Christian to produce the end result! This includes the cul-de-sacs, the dead-ends, and the impasses that we have all encountered at various points in our lives. However, the fundamental reality is that there are no fast cuts to sanctification. This is because the fruit of the Spirit takes time to develop and mature in the life of a believer, just as the fruit on the tree needs both sunshine and storms in order to produce its harvest.
The Trip of a Lifetime
According to the interpretation of one author, The Husbandman’s approach for genuine spiritual development includes the following elements: sorrow in addition to happiness; pain in addition to success; passivity in addition to service; death in addition to life. The temptation to take a short cut is especially strong, unless we see the value and submit to the necessity of the time element; in simple trust resting in His hands – “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.” [King James Version] “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 In addition to that, my cherished friends, it will take that long! However, since God is working throughout all of time, there is no reason for us to be concerned about the amount of time that is involved.
There is no short cut to achieving spiritual maturity; rather, it is the result of a lifetime spent cultivating an increasing level of faith in God.
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