When Progress is Slow, Let this Encourage You

The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.

Deuteronomy 7:22

For most of us, growth and development is never happening fast enough. Whether it is our own personal growth, someone else’s, or the growth of a group that we’re a part of, it can be frustrating when it seems to be going slowly. Somehow we always assume the process should move along quicker than it does.

In fact, sometimes it seems to stall out completely and that can get really discouraging.

But something you will discover in your relationship with God is that He is not in a hurry. He doesn’t feel the same pressure that we feel to get it done. Unlike us, God seems to be perfectly at peace with allowing things to progress gradually and by increments.

Plodding along through Deuteronomy recently, I noticed where God gave an explanation for why He chose not to fast-track the people’s settlement of the Promised Land. Upon their arrival, they probably expected that they could just quickly drive all the bad guys out, build their homes, and get on with the good life they had been looking forward to for decades.

But that isn’t how it played out. Instead, it happened slowly and progressively. The interesting thing, however, is that God had a good reason for the step-by-step approach. He always does.

He explained to them that if all the previous residents of the land were driven out with one big poof, the wild animals would then just move into the empty spaces and take over. Given the opportunity, the lions and wolves would over-populate and that wouldn’t be good.

God would do what He promised to do for them, but He would do it little by little.

Makes sense.

Christian, your conversion happened in a moment, but your transformation will take a lifetime. The very moment you called upon Jesus you were saved, reconciled to God forever. But to become the person that God intends for you to become and to fully realize your potential in Jesus, this will involve a gradual p r o c e s s. Some call this progressive sanctification, because it happens progressively – not instantly.

And on this point, let’s give the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostle Paul, the last word:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.

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