I don’t remember where I read that statement, but it’s true.
Progress isn’t always visible.
You, my friend, have made progress. You have come farther than you think, and you don’t react to life the same way you used to. You have more kindness in your voice than you used to have and you have a more generous heart than you used to have.
“But I don’t notice a difference! I still have this thing I’m dealing with that needs to be removed from my life.” Don’t fret. Don’t you suppose Jesus is aware of what’s going on inside you? Don’t you think He knows exactly what He’s doing? Or have you forgotten that He has a supernatural way of weaving together our mistakes, regrets, losses, sins, and pain so that it all ultimately sings a beautiful song back to Him? Yes, He works all things—all details of our past and right-nows, our triumphs, our fears, our vices, our little foxes—all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Receive that!
And something I’ve learned is that life with Jesus is less about trying to be better or trying to overcome, and instead it’s all about receiving. Receiving. Jesus is the One who started working progress in you, and He is the One who will see it all the way through to completion (Philippians 1:6).
Think of it this way. Wouldn’t it be outrageous during your own surgical procedure to take the doctor’s scalpel away from him and try to finish the surgery yourself? You don’t have the perspective that the doctor has, and you don’t have the knowledge that the doctor has. In fact, trying to perform your own surgery could well prove fatal. No, I think we would all agree what’s best is for the patient to remain still and receive the care the doctor is providing.
In his book Passion for Jesus (thank you, Jonathan, for pointing this book out to me!), Mike Bickle writes,
The Father enjoys us each step in our journey of spiritual growth. He enjoys us not only after we grow up, but also while we are in our immature stage. My heavenly Father was enjoying me while I was yet in the process of maturing… He loved and longed for me.
So hey—the pressure’s off. God loves to heap forgiveness on His lovers over and over again. His mercy only adds to His bright, brilliant glory. He loves to make you look like His Son, and He’s not in nearly as much of a hurry as you are. Progress isn’t always visible, but progress is always happening.