When you were growing up did you ever measure your height on your door frame and mark it off? Maybe you would do it each year at your birthday and watch in wonder (or frustration) at the increasing height of the mark on the door frame.
How did that growth happen? Did it just happen in one day?
We frequently witness Holy Spirit encountering people in quite dramatic and sudden ways. Without doubt such encounters change us and transform us. They are wonderful moments on our journey of discipleship. Whilst these encounters should be celebrated, they are not the primary way in which we are shaped and transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Eugene Peterson described our discipleship journey as “a long obedience in the same direction.”
The Holy Spirit is as much at work in the process of our daily lives as he is in the moments of crisis or encounter. To this end, our growth is not something that is handed to us in a moment but rather something that is nurtured over time.
Too many Christians miss out on opportunities to grow and mature in life because they are not willing to endure “a long obedience in the same direction” and choose instead to go from event to event (or service to service) seeking another “moment” with God.
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus promised his disciples that he would be with them as they go from Galilee. He didn’t say, “I’ll show up if you hold a great meeting.” Instead, he promised to be with them always.
When the God of the Hebrews delivered his people from slavery in Egypt he worked miracles to get them out of Egypt. But then he expected them to follow him on a journey through the wilderness so that He could get Egypt out of them. The wilderness was to be the classroom for them to learn certain lessons that they could never learn through God’s miracles leaving Egypt (e.g. patience, obedience, dependency on God to name a few).
The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians are not imparted to us in a moment. Fruit doesn’t appear in an instant! Patience, gentleness and kindness don’t suddenly happen… instead they are nurtured through the opportunities that life gives us to demonstrate them. Fruit grows slowly on the branches of the tree day after day, drawing life from its connection to the branches, come rain or shine.
Growth is a process not an event. It happens over time, not in a moment.
At HRock we have loved the moments and the meetings where we encounter God. We have been unapologetic about planning events where we give people the chance to meet with God. But, God has been speaking to us about embracing the process of growth and not to limit our expectation of how he wants to work by just scheduling events and meetings.
We are sensing that this is a season in which we are to embrace the daily growth of His fruit in us over time. That’s why we are rediscovering the beauty and importance of our Life Groups, not simply as weekly events, but, as part of our ongoing growth process.
It’s why we have created our Foundations 1 videos and Foundations 2 discovery Bible studies: to help you grow week by week, through the process of walking with and learning from others in relationship, so that you can apply God’s truths in the moments of life that will squeeze you.
I pray you will step into this growth process and see lasting fruit.