Posted by: SandreS | December 19, 2009

The Long Process of Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth does not occur at the rate, or in the methods that are traditionally accepted. Instead God works steadily and effectually for His Own purpose. He is in no rush by human schedule. He works to bring us to a place of spiritual quietness, which along with assurance, is the genuine effect of righteousness.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever (Isaiah 32:17).

His divine work may not be done in accordance with your time tables, or by your predetermined methods or standards. Nonetheless, He is the Creator, and you are His creature. He is the Potter, and you are His clay. He molds and fashions you according to His own will and design.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter; and we all are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My Words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?” said the LORD. “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:2-6).

Even Paul the Apostle echoes these important thoughts:

Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? (Romans 9:21).

The Master Potter is faithfully and steadily at work in you. Make no mistake about it: He works all things after His Own will.

In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who works all things after the counsel of His Own will (Ephesians 1:11).

His hand in your life leaves no place untouched. Even that which seemingly is working against you is used by your Father to fulfill His Own good purpose in your life.

And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

This truth can be seen in the life of our Apostle. Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison. The circumstances of his life had the appearance of working negatively – extremely negatively. Yet, he wrote with such confidence that the opposite was actually true:

But I would that you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel (Philippians 1:12).

Another powerful example is demonstrated in the life of Joseph. The same was true with him. His brothers had sold him into slavery. This had been, upon the surface, a very sad and unfortunate turn of events; but Joseph saw a divine purpose:

But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good (Genesis 50:20).

At times God will even lead you through “the valley of the shadow of death;” but as long as He is with you, even the darkest, lowest valley is really the higher ground!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

Paul experienced such gut-wrenching hardness, that at times he even “despaired of life,”

For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life (II Corinthians 1:8).

However, he was quick to add,

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead (II Corinthians 1:9).

The fact is simple – you can trust God. He alone is truly trustworthy; and He has a definite goal in sight for you! Your Father is taking you on a journey that has as its final goal conformity unto Christ.

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).

To be conformed to the image of His Son is your predestination. To take you on this journey will mean many years of wilderness and valleys. His current goal is to bring you to a place where you find your completeness, satisfaction, contentment, glory, thanksgiving and rejoicing in Him alone, and not in your circumstances. This is what a walk of faith is all about: not saying, “Look, look …” while you point to the circumstances all around you, but saying, “Look, look …” while you point to your Lord and His cross. For Christ and His finished cross-work are the very object of the Father’s eye; and so He is working to make them the object of yours as well.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2000, 2009

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