This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed. - Martin Luther
I have been a Christian for thirty-two years as of a few days ago. It was very simple when I was young. Christ died for my sins, and I didn’t have to worry about God being mad at me for what I had done or would do. I learned to do the right thing, not because I wanted God to like me, but because it was the right thing to do in and of itself.
I wish my life had continued to be that simple. I learned to complicate it while sitting in revival meetings, on the forth or fifth verse and chorus of “Just As I Am.” I learned that I shouldn’t be so sure that Christ had died for my sins. I learned I need to re-dedicate my life to Him each time I failed. I must have trusted Christ at least 50 times during high school.
I have developed some bad habits since becoming a Christian. Yes, it is possible to do bad things when you are a Christian, even what some consider really bad things. The consequences in my life have sometimes been severe, but never as bad as they could have been. God has disciplined me as a loving father would his child; yet his discipline has always been for my good, to conform me to Christ’s image. (See Hebrews 12:3-17 and Romans 8:18-30.)
I am encouraged by Luther’s words above. I am headed in the right direction. I have some starts and stops along the way, but God has been faithful to me. I am better than I used to be.
It’s not about where we have been, or how far we have gone; it’s about where we are headed and where we will be.