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.
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