God wants so much more for you than merely freedom from sin. All sin is just symptoms of deeper issues going on. Even if you are able to contain the act, some other sin will pop up in another area of your life if the heart is not addressed. That is why you see alcoholics trading alcohol for anger or overeaters trading food for exercise. If the heart is not healed, you will find new ways to soothe the pain.
Maturity is not measured by outward expressions or overcoming sin. Maturity in the Lord happens in the heart. Remember God’s rebuke to Samuel:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
Focusing on the sin also hinders you from celebrating the successes you do have. Thankfulness cannot happen if you are too focused on what you don’t have.
Growth Look Like Building a House
Try to imagine building a house. You clear the ground, grade it, dig the footers, pour the foundation, and start making good progress. Then comes the framing. In the early days of construction things move very quickly and progress is easily seen. After the outside is in place, work goes on within the walls and each step is not as visible. You get the wiring done and the insulation put up. The steps are no longer drastic and you start to long for the finished product. But, each step is necessary. If you don’t get the flashing put around the windows you would have high energy bills and water damage, but flashing does not appear to be progress.
Your walk with God has these seasons as well. God is working unseen things in you to prepare you for what He has called you to do. If you are too eager for the end product, you will look at this slow progress and doubt God’s faithfulness or your own worth.
Focusing solely on the final product reduces the joy of growth.
We should keep the end in sight, but at the same time keep it in perspective. Maturity in Christ is a growth process not a bunch of external expressions. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). Therefore give thanks for all things being confident that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.