Our Need for Progress

I hope you would agree that it was a great weekend of worship at ABC!  I want to publicly thank Nathan Wood for delivering a fantastic message last Sunday.  It was a great blessing to “sit in the pew” and be fed after coming back from a long week out of the country.  And it was easy to do so because of the confidence that I have in Nathan and our entire staff.  It is a blessing to Pastor a church that has a strong staff team, filled with gifted and capable servant-leaders.  I find great joy in watching God continue to develop each of them in their unique giftedness and callings.

In the Scriptures, the apostle Paul took great joy in watching those under him grow up into Christian maturity.  He famously mentored young Timothy and entrusted to him a high-level pastoral position.  But Paul also warned Timothy to not get lackadaisical in his giftedness . Instead, he told him to, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15).  Timothy is exhorted to reach his potential in ministry.  He’s called to maximize his spiritual gifts, not neglect them.  He’s commanded to grow in his dedication to the Lord, and not to become complacent.  Paul says if he will remain faithful to his calling, something special will happen in his life: people will see his progress.  Spiritual growth is not a secret that we can keep.  When we faithfully walk in God’s purposes for our lives, people will begin to take notice.

As Christians, we have each been entrusted with at least one spiritual gift just like Timothy (1 Peter 4:10, Eph 4:7-8).  Further, we have also been called by God to exercise those gifts and develop them over time.  When we do this successfully, people begin to see spiritual progress in our lives.  They begin to see God moving through us in practical ways, and they can see the impact that we are making on the lives of those around us.  Our families notice the life change, our workplaces notice the life change, and our fellow church members will certainly notice it as well.   My question for you to consider this week is simple: Do you think others around you can see spiritual progress in your life? 

If the answer is “yes,” then praise the Lord!  Continue to practice and immerse yourself in those things.  But if the answer is “no,” ask yourself what specifically needs to change?  Perhaps you have let your gifts go dormant and you need to start exercising them again.  Or maybe others aren’t seeing God work through you because you aren’t letting Him work in you each day (John 15:5). Perhaps it is because you have set aside your spiritual calling to focus all your time and energy on other things that are calling for your devotion.  If any of this is the case , the good news is it can change today and you too can begin to make progress in your spiritual journey.

In sports, we all appreciate a good comeback story.  Every year, there seems to be a team that does not start well, but somehow, they begin to build momentum and finish their season strong.  Of course, this never happens by accident.  Behind the scenes, those comeback teams practiced incredibly hard.  They immersed themselves in the exercise of their athletic gifts and built lasting discipline.  And because they were faithful to those things, they started to perform differently and others began to take notice.  I encourage you to take Paul’s advice.  Practice these spiritual things.  Immerse yourself in them.  Steward your time, talent, and treasure for the glory of God.  As you do so, I’m confident that you will begin to see a difference in your own life.  But I’m also confident that others will begin to see that difference each day.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday in worship.  Invite a friend this week, and continue to invest your life in what God is doing here at ABC.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan Spencer

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