He was plodding along in the mud. You could see the route he’d taken, straight along the bottom of the ditch. Slow, but determined. Focused on his destination. As so often is the case with turtles, he was taking his dear, sweet time getting wherever he was going. He wasn’t focused on how long the journey would take, but on moving in the right direction.
I’m kinda like that turtle. I’m just slogging along, dragging my feet. Unlike him, I suddenly realize I’m not getting anywhere, and I get in a hurry.
I’m like that in my walk with Christ. For goodness sake, I’m sixty-one years old. Shouldn’t I be further along than I am? Shouldn’t I know His word better, pray harder and longer and with passion? Shouldn’t I realize that not focusing on moving forward will derail my pilgrimage? As long as I’ve been walking with Christ, shouldn’t I be more like Him by now??
Sadly, I often let the circumstances of my life distract me. I focus on them, not Him. And I get stuck in the mud. I throw my hands up and say “What’s the use?”
How about you? Are you bogged down, baffled and beaten up? Are you ready to “be there”? Do you feel like stopping to rest indefinitely, instead of continuing on?
Paul tells us in Philippians to work out our salvation1. This means to carry out a task until it is finished, to produce, or to put something into effect entirely or thoroughly.
Warren Wiersbe explains it this way:
In Paul’s day it was also used for “working a mine,” that is, getting out of the mine all the valuable ore possible; or “working a field” so as to get the greatest harvest possible. The purpose God wants us to achieve is Christlikeness, “to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29)2.
[tweetthis]Sanctification is a marathon, not a sprint.[/tweetthis]
Sanctification – becoming increasingly more like Jesus – is hard work. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The good news is, we don’t have to do it alone or in our own strength.
“Because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey His own purpose.” Philippians 2:13 GNT
God is working in us to energize us, creating the desire and the power to work for His good pleasure.
Remember that, when you’re plodding along, feeling like you aren’t making headway. We have the Holy Spirit of Jesus in us. Even though it seems like we’re stuck in the mud, not making progress in our Christian walk, God is working in us to give us the strength we need. His strength. Like the turtle, we are moving forward, because it’s God doing the work. It may seem slow to us, but it’s His timing.
‘The essential thing “in heaven and earth” is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction.’ Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
God is at work in you. He will complete the work He began.
Don’t give up.
Keep moving forward.
Lord, Forgive our impatience! We just want more of You, and are in a hurry to get it! Bring to our minds Your words “Cease striving, be still…3” so that we can rest in You, learn from You and become more like You each and every day. In Jesus powerful name, Amen
Grace be with you,
1 Philippians 2:12
2 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 77). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
3 Psalm 46:10
Oh boy… how I needed this this week!!!
Some days I do feel like what am I doing…..am I doing anything I should be doing…. I ask can’t that still small voice get louder!!!
Amen, if only His voice would get louder. Or perhaps we need to quite our voice and listen for His. I know I talk too much when I should be listening!
Beth Rayann Corder says
Awesome thoughts and Images Ellen! Got it!
Thanks Beth! The pix were from my iPhone, so the turtle picture wasn’t extremely sharp. But it was just such a striking example to me of how our walk should be – long, slow and steady!
I’ve been thinking this very same thing lately. I’m also 61 and feel like I “should” be doing much more. Your post reminds me that His grace is sufficient. Thank you for your timely words.
Amen, Barbara! His grace is indeed sufficient!
We live in a culture where instant gratification is desired. We simply don’t like waiting for anything! We like to complete our projects ASAP and move onto the next thing on the agenda. Thus we get dissatisfied with our performance because we know what the end result should be. Instead we need to be focusing on learning lessons during our progress so that we don’t miss what He wants us to learn along the way. I’m SO guilty of this myself. However, you nailed it when you said that living this life is a marathon, not a sprint race! Your words are a blessing to us all… Thanks for sharing with us what God has placed on your heart ❤️
Debbie, I think we all get sucking into the instant gratification. But what a blessing to be patient and wait on the Lord, and learn on our journey! Miss seeing you!!