“I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.” Those words by Martin Luther King Jr. are process words. Most things in life are not static. The Christian life was never meant to be static. We can never claim perfection on this side of heaven, but neither should we remain the same in our journey with Christ. The New Testament assumes growth. To not grow would be abnormal.
I can remember my first steps as a true follower of Jesus. The growth was exponential. Several fleshly habits were broken. My associations changed drastically. I couldn’t get enough of God’s Word, church, ministry, and fellowship with God’s people. I certainly was not the man I once was! Praise God! I know you too can attest to this as well in your life.
Many times, since then I have longed for the early days of my spiritual journey. You likely can relate. But is that the normal Christian life? Do we grow in leaps and bounds? I think there is real danger in that expectation. I think some have fallen away because of the slowness of growth. Where did we ever get this idea that the path of sanctification would be faster?
A book that had tremendous impact on me years ago was Eugene Peterson’s classic book, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” In that book, Peterson challenges a society obsessed with the immediate and quick fixes. Anytime I see an article or a book or a sermon with the title that begins with “Ten keys to..” or “Five easy steps for…” I cringe.
I considered writing a book on discipleship called, “Ten million steps to holiness.” I doubt that would be a best seller. Who wants a plan that would take ten million steps to achieve it?
We need a little spiritual realism. Peterson is correct. It is a long obedience in the same direction. Our expectations need to shift from the immediate to the gradual. However, this is not an excuse for complacency or procrastination. There should be changes in our lives. We should not be the same as we were 5 years ago, or a year ago. Growth suggests movement. We should not be OK with stagnancy that lingers.
Spiritual realists understand the long view of sanctification. Mature Christlikeness does not happen in five steps, but over a whole lifetime. It is as Paul says, “We are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is no accident that our spiritual growth is compared to farmers planting crops (Galatians 6:7), children growing up (Ephesians 4:14-15), and runners in a race (1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1). All of these images suggest having the long view when it comes to our sanctification. Growth happens as God’s Word and His Spirit slowly renews us day by day.
Horatius Bonar puts it this way, “The Christian life is a great thing, one of the greatest things on earth. It is made up of daily littles.” I like that! Daily littles. The act of obedience standing in front of you right now may not seem to be that big of a deal. But remember it is a long obedience in the same direction. Holiness is one step of ten million. Don’t lose heart, church.
Seeking to be faithful in the daily littles,
All Things to All People
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Link to This Sunday Worship Service
The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA
For a preview of the five benefits to EBC of joining, please check out this resource: https://
Local Outreach Opportunity
The local outreach team is sponsoring a spring cleanup day this June. This is a way to serve your unbelieving neighbor, friend, family member. Two ways you can help: 1. Pass on the name of someone you have contacted who could use some practical help. 2. Show the love of Christ through service by participating in the spring cleanup day in June (date to be determined). Stop by the ministry counter for more information or to sign up.
On Goal soccer Camp is Coming Soon!
As the host church for On Goal, we are looking for volunteers to support camp needs in various ways. Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia. Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/
Mark Your Calendars
Next Prayer 30 June 22 at the gym parking lot at 7pm.
Annual Church Picnic at Ellacoya Saturday, August 27th. More info as it gets closer.