At times it can be discouraging to see how far I have to go to be like Christ.
When Israel entered the promise land, they faced daunting enemies. Yet God encouraged them:
“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So will the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the Lord your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed. You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you. (DT 7.17-22)
Israel felt like grasshoppers compared to their foes. Yet God said, “Don’t fear them. Trust me. I’ll do to them what I did to Egypt. I’ll clear them out little by little. And I’ll even use hornets to get the job done.”
When I became a Christian, my sins towered over me like mountains. I thought I’d never conquer them. But God’s promise to Israel to drive out their enemies little by little gave me hope he’d drive out my sins in the same way.
God doesn’t vanquish our sins instantaneously – sanctification’s a lifelong process. And he employs his infinite power and resources to change us. Sometimes he even sends divine “hornets” into our lives to drive out clinging sin. But even when trials sting, he’s faithful, for “the Lord [our] God is in [our] midst, a great and awesome God.”
God told Israel to remember how he delivered them from Egypt, for he’d do the same with their other enemies. And just as he delivered us from spiritual darkness and slavery by his almighty power he’ll surely finish the job by that same power.
Why doesn’t God transform us immediately? Because he gets more glory this way. We appreciate his grace and power more when he changes us gradually. We delight more in his victories when he wins them one by one.
So don’t be discouraged if you’re slow to change. God will surely drive out your sins. Little by little. Day by day.
photo by Cayusa