I’m sure you will agree – we are all a work in progress. Here’s my favorite Bible verse to illustrate this truth: And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18 AMP The glory of God is on display mainly in our inward character. A good summation would be the fruit of the Spirit, which includes: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23 Simply pray for MORE of ALL of the above!
Taking ownership of the “work in progress” will always involve resisting the opposition, which comes against us both externally and internally. The primary battle is our sin nature (Adam’s DNA) at enmity with our new nature (Christ’s DNA), each vying for supremacy. This mandates that we stay near the influence of the cross and never stop moving forward. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Gal. 5:24-25
You’re Already Doing It – Do It More!
A great example of how the church at large is a work in progress, is found in the church in Thessalonica. The Apostle Paul, who founded the church, had a particular style of praising the people for how well they were doing and then adding incentive to walk in a greater abundance. Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 1 Thes. 4:1
Paul does it again later in the chapter. But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. 1 Thes. 4:9-10
Living in Abundance
Our lives are meant to be a succession of harvests. The Vine/Branches chapter is apropos here. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Jn. 15:8 Here again, a work in progress. It entails “remaining” or “abiding” in Christ. Jn. 15:4 This includes making the decision on a daily basis to not remain connected to unhealthy sources, either from our past or from current temptations. Thus we invite and welcome the pruning hand of the Gardener. Jn. 15:1
Living in abundance and provision is the reward. If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. Lev. 26:3-5
I like this progression: Rain ⇒ Fruit ⇒ Threshing ⇒ Harvest ⇒ Planting. In a spiritual sense my choice to follow and obey is the planting for the next season.
Remember the two natures (DNA). We are called to participate in the one (God’s) and escape the other (the world & the flesh). His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Pet. 1:3-4 God desires that we be on the receiving end of His very great and precious promises.
We can also infer that participating in the divine nature includes “adding” to our faith. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. 1:5-8 Though it might seem at times like performance, it’s really about abundance.
A work in progress is all about progressively being transformed. If we lose our vision in this regard we put ourselves at risk. But whoever does not have them (the “add-ons” mentioned above) is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Pet. 1:9
Failure to reach for more will dim our spiritual memory.
So a “work” in progress is a lot of work right? True.
A glorious and never-ending work in progress.