The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Progress
Walking Toward the Light
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Here is a wonderful promise for the believer. God has ordained that as we walk in His ways, obedient to His will, our path will grow brighter and brighter. Theologians call this “progressive sanctification,” which refers to the process whereby we are changed little by little, day by day into the likeness of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
This is God’s promise, but like most of His promises, it isn’t fulfilled all at once. No matter how long we live, God has more light for us to receive. We’ll never be completely in “the light” until we stand in the presence of Jesus, the Light of the world.
Not long ago I ran into a friend who is involved in a twelve-step program. As we talked, he passed along a slogan that he first learned in his weekly meetings: “Our goal is not perfection, but progress.”
A little bell started ringing in my mind when I heard those words. “Not perfection, but progress.” My friend told me that whenever he falls back into his old way of thinking, he feels so defeated he wants to give up. When that happens, he said, the key is to remember that his goal is not perfection-which is always unattainable- but simple day-by-day progress.
What difference does it make?
- Perfection says, “I must do this right all the time or I am a failure.” Progress says, “I know I’m going to fail occasionally, but that won’t stop me from getting up and trying again.”
- Perfection says, “If I fail, people will think I’m a loser.” Progress says, “If I fail, people will understand as long as I don’t give up and quit.”
- Perfection says, “It’s wrong to admit my weaknesses.” Progress says, “Admitting my weaknesses is the only way to get better.”
- Perfection says, “I’ve got all the answers.” Progress says, “I’ve got a few answers and a lot of questions.”
- Perfection says, “It’s not my fault.” Progress says, “I was wrong.”
- Perfection says, “I can do it by myself.” Progress says, “I think I can do it, but I need the help of God and a few good friends.”
If we dwell on our failures, we will soon grow despondent. Who among us has not made mistakes that today make us blush with shame? But the past is more than a record of personal failure. It’s also the story of God’s amazing grace to us. Time after time God bailed us out when by all rights He should have given up on us. We were bankrupt and badly overdrawn in the Bank of Heaven when suddenly we discovered Someone had put more grace in our account.
In a fallen world we should not be surprised that we fall flat on our faces from time to time. It’s what you do after you fall that makes all the difference. Remember, with God s help you can get back up and start moving in the right direction again.
Lord Jesus, You are a wonderful Savior. May I never delay when You call me to take another step toward the light. Amen.
How would you chart your spiritual growth over the last five years? In what areas would you most like to grow in the next five years?
Name several ways in which you have experienced God s grace recently.
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