by Rick Warren — July 14, 2021
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
It takes years for a person to grow to adulthood. It takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. Physical growth and maturity take time.
The same is true for spiritual growth. The development of Christlike character can’t be rushed. The fruit of the Spirit—like physical fruit—only develops with plenty of time.
During the process of spiritual growth, God slowly uncovers parts of your life that need to change in order to be more like Jesus.
Think of your life before Christ. He may have allowed you to experience problems. Life’s difficulties helped him get your attention and let you see your life was built on a faulty foundation. (And, actually, it’s that faulty foundation that caused many of the problems in the first place.)
Jesus wants you to surrender all of your life to him. He doesn’t want just a small portion of who you are. He wants access to all of you.
It’s like this: When you open the door of your life to Jesus, he comes in. Let’s imagine you invite him into your house. In the living room, you tell him, “This is your home now, and I want to live here the way you want me to live.”
In the kitchen, you say, “You’re just like family. In fact, really, I’m now part of your family, and I’m so grateful for all you provide.” And so it goes, until you get to a closed door. Jesus wants to go in, but you say, “No, that part of my life is closed to you. I don’t want you going in there.”
When you invited Jesus into your life, did you give him complete access? Have you resisted his efforts to help you mature because you insist on keeping some things behind closed doors? Jesus doesn’t want you to limit how or where he works in your life. Otherwise, you’re limiting how much you can mature.
Jesus wants you to give him all of yourself.
You may think you’ve surrendered all of your life to Jesus, but the truth is you’re still hanging on to some parts of your life. Jesus isn’t upset with you. He simply wants to work with you to help you uncover areas that you still need to surrender to him.
It’s a long process—and some days it will feel like a struggle or even a battle. But the good news is that the outcome is certain. God has promised that he, “who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).