God Grows Us One Step at a Time
By Rick Warren
“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy”(Ephesians 4:22-24 GNT).
Although God could instantly transform us, he has chosen to develop us slowly. Jesus was deliberate in developing his disciples, just as God allowed the Israelites to take over the Promised Land “little by little” so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed (see Deuteronomy 7:22). He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives.
Why does it take so long to change and grow up? There are several reasons:
- We are slow learners.We often have to relearn a lesson 40 or 50 times to really get it. The problems keep recurring, and we think, “Not again! I’ve already learned that!” But God knows better. The history of Israel illustrates how quickly we forget the lessons God teaches us and how soon we revert to our old patterns of behavior. We need repeated exposure.
- We have a lot to unlearn.Since most of our problems — and all of our bad habits — didn’t develop overnight, it’s unrealistic to expect them go away immediately. There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement. The Bible calls it “taking off the old self” and “putting on the new self” (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:7-10, 14).
- Growth is often painful and scary.There is no growth without change, there is no change without fear or loss, and there is no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind. We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self-defeating, because, like a worn-out pair of shoes, they were at least comfortable and familiar.
- Good habits take time to develop.Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind. Your habits define your character.
There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: You must practice them — and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 GW).
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Life's Healing Choices: The Beatitudes Complete Audio Series
Rest and recover from life’s battles
The truth is, going through life we all get at a little bruised and battered. And that means everyone needs recovery from something.
Maybe you need help dealing with pain from a current relationship, or hurts from your past. Maybe you need to heal spiritually, or renew your emotional health.
Regardless of the problems you face, Pastor Rick Warren wants to help you heal by sending you his Life’s Healing Choices Complete Audio Series.
In these 8 messages based on the Beatitudes (Matthew Chapter 5), you’ll hear about the choices you can make to lead you to the true healing and recovery that can only be found in Jesus. Choices like . . .
• The Reality Choice
• The Transformation Choice
• The Growth Choice
Please give your best gift below to help more people learn, love, and live the Word with Daily Hope — and we’ll say thanks by sending you the Life’s Healing Choices Complete Audio Series available as an 8 CD boxed set or high-quality MP3 download.
May God work through these messages to help you rest and recover from life’s battles with the eternal hope of his Word.
This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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