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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:13–14 (NIV)
If you’ve ever watched a home renovation show like Fixer Upper, you may have asked yourself, “How can they make that mess into a beautiful home?” And then you see the demolition take place, and it often becomes even harder to imagine. But somehow, by the end of the episode—which is often filmed over a span of weeks, maybe even more than a month—this unlivable disaster has become a masterpiece.
A lot of time, life can feel like this. We don’t see the fruits of our labor, investments, or generosity as quickly as we’d like. This is especially true of time investments. However, we need remember that our concept of time is different than God’s, and our concept of results is also different than God’s.
We won’t magically become super mature believers overnight when we commit to spending more time with the Lord. We won’t instantly see the fruits of our investments into relationships. It will take time; it will be gradual. We need to go all in and commit for the long haul. If we go into this process expecting quick results, we will end up disappointed.
Imagine it like an exercise routine. Losing weight requires a long-term commitment to healthy living—and keeping the weight off requires even more dedication! But if you stick to it, you will make progress and see results . . . gradually.
Keep in mind that the work of God is never done. Even Paul didn’t consider himself as having yet “arrived.” He knew the prize of Christ Jesus was still ahead of him. So what did he do? He pressed on! He was singularly focused on gaining Christ and being found in Him, in knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection. He knew this meant “participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10 NIV). But he trusted that God, who began a good work in him, would carry it out unto completion (Philippians 3:7–14).
Trust the process. Trust God. Trust the work of the Spirit, no matter how “fast” or “slow” it may seem. Continue to be generous with your time. Continue to invest your time in heavenly, eternal things. Continue to pour into people, even when you don’t see the fruit. Know that God is working behind the scenes. He’s doing the building. He’s doing the demolition. And He’s doing the renovation.
What does the process look like in your life right now? Are you engaged in it, working out your faith, responding to God, using your time as best as you can to grow in Him and with others? Are you seeking His will and work in your life? If so, be encouraged and keep striving every day, even when progress seems non-existent.
If not, start today! If there is breath in your body, it’s not too late! Don’t waste any more time disengaged from the greatest and most rewarding part of life: your relationship with Christ.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.