The need for instant results is such a huge part of our culture today. We have apps that can immediately order food for us, get us cabs, make reservations at a restaurant, get us tickets to a game, etc. At the click of a button we can download a movie or video chat with a friend who lives on the other side of the world. The opportunities we have are endless, but this type of instant gratification can often cause to become inpatient. I barely have enough patience to wait for my internet to load a website that I want to look at! Lately, I have realized that I also expect instant gratification in my spiritual life/walk with God.
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” – Romans 8:28
The moment we believe in Jesus Christ and are saved, we become sanctified or set apart. From this moment on, you are a child of God and set apart for His glory. The verse above, tells us that God saved us to conform to the image of His Son. His ultimate goal is that we will be like Jesus Christ in both our character and in how we act. So while our salvation is sure and secure, our purification process is not instantaneous. We have to work daily, through the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse ourselves of the evil within us (2 Corinthians 7:1). As a Christian I know that I am sanctified, and because of my position, I should work hard to live a holy life.
The struggle for me in all of this is knowing that I will fall and knowing that I will make mistakes; it’s inevitable. There are certain sins in my life that I must daily commit to God and give Him full control. I heard in a message this week that the “struggle itself is a sign of life”. Struggle is a good thing! We should praise God when we struggle, because we know that it is His Spirit in us working against the flesh. The two are at war which causes an internal struggle with sin. The moment we stop struggling is when we should be worried. As Christians we must understand that perfection will come when we are united with Christ in heaven. Until then, sin will be present and will be real in our lives. Our success in dealing with sin is presented in the following verse:
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity – Proverbs 24:16
We must rise again! When you fall and succumb to the pressures of this world, don’t stay down and be defeated, get back up! Trust that you are covered in God’s grace, get back up, and try again. Never, ever give up and never stop getting up! Keep your eyes focused on Jesus Christ and work daily to walk with Him and grow in His presence. Giving up and feeling defeated are all lies that Satan tries to put in our minds. Scripture tells us that the righteous man falls seven times, and each time he rises again! Christ died so that sin could no longer have dominion over us. We are humans, and we will fall, but with His power, we can get right back up, and prove to the world that sin cannot have control over our lives!
For years I wanted instant spiritual gratification without having to put in the work. When I was in college, I would go to class, but I hated studying afterwards. I wanted the perfect attendance and I wanted an A in the class, but I wasn’t committed to doing the work. I’m sure you can imagine that I didn’t always get the grades I wanted and was often disappointed. Similarly, in my Christian walk I like to be active and go to church, but if I don’t put forth the effort of growing daily, then I will not get the desired result: to be more like Christ. To be like Christ I have to work out my salvation. I have to strive to know Him on a deeper level, and I have to work with Christ to conquer the sin that is in my life. Satan wants us to fall into sin and will do whatever he can to keep us there, but the Word of God reminds us that through His power, we can conquer that sin! Romans 8:13 tells us that it is by His Spirit that we are able to put to death the deeds of the body, and have life. We must be in constant communication with God, desiring to grow daily so that we can be victorious over the sin in our lives. As Christians, we must be patient (and persistent) in our walk with the Lord, and trust that He is doing His good work in us and doing it in His perfect time. Living a holy life can be challenging, but we should take it on one day at a time. Daily, we must commit our struggles into His hands and trust that He will be with us every step of the way. Trust that when we sin He will be there to help us up; when we doubt He will give us hope; when we cry, He will be there to comfort us; and when we struggle, He will be there to guide us. Let us yield to the Spirit that is doing His work in us and seek out to live holy lives, set apart for His glory.