The following is taken from a testimony in church I heard recently:
When I became a salesman, and started working with a new company, I began receiving a paycheck right away, which was proof that I was an employee of that company. Was I a good salesman? Nope. Not even close. I had a lot to learn. Was I a good employee? Not hardly! I didn’t half know what I was supposed to do, or even where the bathroom was. Over time I learned and progressed, and today I am a good salesman, and a good employee. But even though I was not great or even good at first, I was an employee nonetheless, evidenced by my paycheck.
When I got married, we went on our honeymoon, and flew home and began to live life together as roommates and helpmates. What gave us this right? We had a marriage license that proved we were married. I was a husband! Was I a good husband? Nope. Not even close. Am I a better husband today than I was then? Absolutely – if I hadn’t improved from the husband I was when we were first married, then I would most likely have ceased to be married a while ago. Over time, thankfully, I have learned to be a good husband. I am less selfish than I once was, more thoughtful, more understanding of my wife’s needs. But no matter how poor a husband I was at first, I was just as married then as I am now, evidenced by my marriage license.
When I was first sanctified, I was a pretty poor disciple of Christ. I had prayed and surrendered my life to Christ, and received the Holy Spirit, and was pure in heart and mind, but I had a lot to learn. I made a lot of mistakes. Am I the same Christian now that I was when I was first sanctified? No! I am a much better Christian today; more disciplined, more aware, more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, more knowledgeable, more patient. Does this mean I am more sanctified today? No! Does this mean I am more accepted today than then? No! When I received the seal of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I was completely God’s child and ready for Heaven, just the same as I was an employee and a husband.
I see a lot of people come to Christ and struggle with feeling that they aren’t measuring up to what they see in other Christians. Give yourself some grace! You’re not going to be an expert when you first start at anything. You will stumble, you will make mistakes, and it is ok as long as you are willing to keep following God, and keep learning from your mistakes.
The Apostle Paul described this mindset in a letter to the Church at Phillippi:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phillipians 3:13-15)
Hallelujah, we’re getting better with time. An old song says “higher, higher we ascend, but we never see the end, Hallelujah, amen” In each hard time, in each failing, in each chastisement, in each conflict, we can learn something to help us down the road. Becoming a better Christian is not about becoming more loved or more accepted by God, it is about being better able to walk as He would have us walk. So let’s not be too hard on ourselves – we’ve got a lot to learn in this Christian walk, and it’s going to take some time.
Blessings, my friends.