The Process

 
 
Occasionally, people approach me for help and want me to fix in five minutes what it’s taken perhaps many years to “break.”  They’re looking for the big event and the quick fix.
Even God needed time to redeem the earth!  Two-thousand years passed between Creation and Abraham; another two-thousand years passed from Abraham to Christ, and another two-thousand-plus years from Christ to our day.  And redemption’s scheme still hasn’t played out completely.  The devil is still on the prowl.  “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b). 
Don’t get me wrong.  I thank God for the “big events” in the Christian life.  I was born again on August 4, 1970, baptized in the Holy Spirit on July 22, 1971 and baptized in water on August 18, 1974.  Because of my fear of water, it took me four years to work up the nerve to get “dunked.”  And even then I positioned a pastor on each side of me to secure my re-entry from the waters of the Grand River in Rock Creek!
I’m thankful when God answers a prayer or grants me a hallmark experience.  Those times ignite my faith and move me toward higher levels in God. 
Long ago, the night skies outside of Bethlehem suddenly lit up when an angel made earth’s greatest birth announcements to a group of unsuspecting shepherds. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified” (Luke 2:8-9).
In A.D. 29, 120 believers in Jesus Christ were gathered together in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem when sounds from heaven suddenly filled the atmosphere.  “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2).
The first “suddenly” of God announced the birth of a Savior.  The second “suddenly” signaled the birth of the Church. While we marvel at the big events in the Christian life, we must never forget that the intricacies of the Faith are hammered out on the anvil of time.  Salvation is both an event and a process.  I was saved, I’m being saved, and I will ultimately be saved.  Like you, I’m in process of “becoming.”  Remember, we’re human “beings.”
John 1:40-42 is a particularly meaningful passage to me.  “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.  The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ)’ And he brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John.  You will be called Cephas, which translated, is Peter.’” 
Jesus saw not only who Simon WAS, but who he WOULD BECOME.  That’s why He gave him a new name – Cephas in Aramaic, Peter in Greek.  Either way, both names mean “a rock.”  Peter, of course, is not presented in the Gospels as rock-solid, but he became a solid rock in the days of the Early Church.  By giving Simon a new name Jesus introduced a progressive change in character. 
Jesus looked past the Simon of “today” and saw the Peter of “tomorrow.”  He saw untapped potential.  That’s the way he sees us, too!  Don’t allow the process of you becoming more like Jesus to make you impatient.  Know that the good work He began in you will come to fruition.

  

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