As we come to the end of 2017, we can all recall various events that have taken place in our lives this year – the highs, the lows and the challenges. Perhaps some of us feel like we’ve taken massive steps forward in our relationship with God and His plans for us, and others of us wonder if we’ve made any progress at all.
Progress in the Christian life is something that the Apostle Paul seemed to consider was quite important (Philippians 3:12-14). It’s something we can’t achieve on our own, but it does seem to require our co-operation at times. Scripture is clear that those whom God has chosen He’s transforming into the image of His Son (2 Corinthians 3:18). In my experience, this is a process that the Holy Spirit leads, little by little, as we yield to Him.
‘Little by little’ are the words God used to describe how He was going to act in today’s scripture. As the Israelites peered across the river at the land God had told them was theirs, they must have wondered if He was really serious. After all, all they could see were enemies. Somehow, they were going to live in that land, but it seemed totally impossible.
Perhaps, when we hear that God wants to transform us into the image of His Son, we might wonder if He’s really serious. After all, we know about all the fears, ungodly thoughts, bad attitudes, patterns of sinful behaviour and weaknesses we have. Yet His promise stands.
God’s words to the Israelites were that He would drive out all their enemies, but not in a single year (Exodus 23:29). Interesting! Do you think that’s because He couldn’t do it in a single year? Of course not! He explains to them that the reason for this is it would be too much for them. ‘Little by little’ He says He will do it, ‘until you have increased enough to take possession of the land’. This tells me that, as we grow up in Christ, learning more and more to hate what’s evil and cling to what’s good, we’ll be ready to take the next step in this process of transformation.
As I look back over the last ten years, I can see God’s life-changing work in so many areas of my life. My prayer is that I’ll continue to yield to Him in that process in 2018, and beyond, allowing Him to soften my heart and make me more like Himself. After all, the more you and I become like Him, the more accurately we’ll be able to reflect Him to this world.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You haven’t only made me perfect forever in Your sight by the blood of Your Son, Jesus, but You’re also transforming me into His image with ever increasing glory. I’m sorry for the times You’ve prompted me, or convicted me in a certain area of my life, and I’ve not yielded to You. I’m sorry for sometimes resisting Your efforts to change me. I pray that You’d soften my heart, and show me areas where I need to repent. Please empower me by Your Holy Spirit to live the kind of life You’re calling me to live, and may I be able to look back at the end of 2018 and see considerable progress. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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