No matter how long we have been living for God, we will never get to the place where “we have arrived” or “we have it all down.” There will always be:
- room for improvement
- room to grow(2 Peter 3:18)
- the need to keep ourselves in the love of God(Proverbs 4:23, Jude 1:21)
- the possibility that we could lose our salvation (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:39
This was brought home to me again today when I had the following texting conversation with a friend. We started out talking about the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23.
Me – I would say meekness and longsuffering are the hardest fruits to see produced in our lives, just because they are so contrary to our human nature.
Friend -Yeah, but I think you have them down.
Me -I don’t think anyone will ever have them all down. It takes constant work to bear fruit, just like it takes work to have a nice garden. All I have to do is slack up on my devotional life, and I can feel the “weeds”(bad attitudes, etc.) spring up.
Friend -Ahhh! I understand. So living for the Lord really is something that we have to work on every single day for the rest of our lives?
Me-Yes, it is. God gives us a new nature when He fills us with the Holy Ghost, but we still have our old human nature to contend with, and if we don’t “crucify” it daily, it will take over in the same way that weeds can overtake and ruin a beautiful garden.
Friend – That makes sense.
I remember a time in my life when I felt the same way about my pastor’s wife as my friend felt about me. (before this conversation) It seemed like my pastor’s wife really knew how to live for God. Surely she never struggled with bad attitudes, a lack of self-control or any evil thoughts. She had lived for God long enough to where she had gained mastery over these things. The truth is, nothing could have been further from the truth. As long as we are alive, there will always be attitudes and issues in our hearts that need work. Regardless of how long we have been living for the Lord or what “position” we may have in the church, we still have a stinking, sinful human nature with which to contend. It’s true that God gives us a new nature, His nature, when He fills us with the Holy Ghost, but that does not take away our human nature anymore than having a pristine, lovely garden takes away weeds.
That’s why we need to consistently
-read and study the Word of God
-fast (ooh, that one’s a toughie)
-be faithful to church
-hear an anointed man of God preach the Word
These are things that God uses to help us “root out” the bad things that seek to flourish in our hearts. As we do our part to “keep ourselves in the love of God”(Jude 1:21), He will do His part to “keep us from falling”(Jude 1:24) until the day He presents us faultless before His presence. Only then will we have arrived.