If you’re like me, you’ve undoubtedly been frustrated when you’ve not seen your growth in godliness proceed at a quick enough pace. It seems to take a long time to become Christlike, doesn’t it? Is there any way this can go faster?
According to J.C. Ryle, the answer is no:
Gradual growth in grace, growth in knowledge, growth in faith, growth in love, growth in holiness, growth in humility, growth in spiritual-mindedness—all this I see clearly taught and urged in Scripture, and clearly exemplified in the lives of many of God’s saints. But sudden, instantaneous leaps from conversion to consecration I fail to see in the Bible.[1. J. C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), xxiv.]
I think Ryle is bang-on here, because what he offers is a picture of maturity. He understood that becoming mature takes time, and it doesn’t happen uniformly. This is a point I have to remind myself of over and over again, especially when I’m getting frustrated with myself (and others). No matter how hard I try, growth takes time, and I can’t change how long it takes. But I can strive to appreciate where I am in the present, knowing that each day, by God’s grace, I am being remade in the image of his son.