Peeling The Onion
Most Christians are eager to become like Jesus, and we want to grow in maturity and Christ-like character. That’s commendable- it should be every believer’s goal. The problem is that we want to be changed instantaneously. However, our transformation is ongoing and it is a process. We need to be patient and give ourselves time to be renewed.
Let’s be honest; we didn’t get into our present state overnight, so we need to be realistic and allow sufficient time for our overhaul. It requires our submission to the Word of God and to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will show us areas that need work, and if He were to show us everything at once, we might be come so overwhelmed and dejected that we give up. It’s like peeling an onion- God reveals these things in layers- bit by bit. And as each layer is dealt with, progress is made and we take one step closer to being like Jesus.
The big difference in our way of changing ourselves and God’s way of changing us has to do with the direction of change. We tend to try to change the outside of our person and then work inward- sort of like trying to modify our outward behavior to get to the root of the problem. And that never really works. God starts in the heart of a person- in the core of their being- and works outward. He knows that if the root cause or source of an issue is not dealt with, a person’s behavior may change but the real problem remains. And if the real problem is still there it will manifest again- maybe in a different way, but it will still manifest. And that does not produce freedom.
We may see our progress as going too slow- like progress made in inches instead of feet or yards. However, if we cooperate with God, getting in His Word, praying in the Spirit, and obeying His instruction, we will begin to notice more and more change. The work of transformation is not our work- we have to allow God to revamp us. We cannot get in a big hurry, and we cannot feel condemned because we have not yet arrived at perfection. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t be impatient with yourself or the process. As long as you are in the process, progress is being made. Relax and let God work.
How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. Galatians 3:3-7 (New Living Translation, NLT- emphasis mine)
So, have faith in God, be patient with yourself, and change will come. When we quit trying to change ourselves and just enjoy our relationship with our heavenly Father, transformation happens.