Years ago, I was leading was of my first small groups at a youth event. After a few starter questions, I asked the group, “Are you a Christian, or still in the process?” Each person began to answer and, as most might expect, the response seemed to be unanimous “Christian,” until it wasn’t. The words that rang true and the explanation that followed truly probed my heart and mind. The student said he was still in the process and continued to say that he knew he had a relationship with Jesus, but he also had come to understand that he wasn’t the Christian that he longed to be, which led to his answer: ”I’m still in the process.” This small group was a turning point for me. It was a time and group of people that reminded me that we are all in the process.
Your life is truly a journey. Our walk with Christ is just that: an ongoing walk. It is not a once-and-done moment. It is a continuum, a process of all the steps we take toward the goal of striving to be more like Jesus, getting to know him, and the culmination of decisions, events and outcomes along the way. There are times where we seem to stand still, but we must progress and do what we know to do. Trust God and move to the places where he leads. It doesn’t mean that every part of the path is easy, but all that we experience builds a necessary foundation, produces growth and, ultimately, reveals a beautiful picture that could only be displayed when all the steps and stages come together.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
— Romans 5:1–5
Over time, it has become clearer and clearer to me that we will always be at some step in this process. I’m not sure which stage is the one where I need the most growth. Depending on the circumstance or the decision, a new growing pain might be revealed, but I know that I never walk through it alone. God is always with us. He sees us through the peaks, pits and in-betweens. He also provides others along the way to cheer us on and encourage us. We are in this together. Sometimes we think it might be easy not to make a decision at all. Keep in mind that avoiding a decision is a decision, and being still is also part of God’s plan. We just have to trust God, hold tight to his Word, and believe that he works things together for our best and that he will see us through.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing. You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing. For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”
— Isaiah 41:10–13 NLT
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
— Philippians 1:6