Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
God always meets His children where they are. Just as a child gradually learns to eat solid foods as his/her digestive system develops, God rotates the dimmer switch as one grows up in Him spiritually. And, each time a believer goes to the Word of God familiar passages have new meaning because he/she is different or in a new place in spiritual conformity in Christ. God does not reveal everything about Himself and His ways all at one time that would be too overwhelming and a discouragement in an underdeveloped state. On the other hand, He increasingly reveals Himself to His followers because their eyes would be blinded by the brightness of who He is and how He works if they received the maximum wattage all at once.
That is what progressive sanctification is all about, a gradual spiritual growth process of becoming more like Jesus Christ. As soon as one places faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins the process of conforming him/her to His image. Second Peter 1:3-8 states by God's power believers have "everything [they] need” to live lives of godliness, which is the goal of spiritual growth. Notice, in the passage, that what a Christian needs comes "through [their] knowledge of Him,” which is the key to obtaining everything they need. Hence, knowledge of Him comes from the Word of God given for edification and growth.
It is easy to get discouraged because one does not mature as fast as another. Questions like: "What's wrong with me?" "Why don't I understand this yet?” or "Lord, why do I keep failing at this? When will I finally internalize this teaching?” But, even the smallest step toward a better understanding of God and His Ways; a fervent prayer life asking for wisdom; and/or an unquenchable thirst to know more of Him provides opportunity for Him to illuminate believers as they live out His Word seeing with eyes that have been enlightened by His Word.
Furthermore, asking God to increase one's faith and knowledge of Him will enable a believer to stand against temptation and to endure unexplained suffering. The life of the believer who suffers well and gives God glory in the most horrific trial is not only a testament to his/her spiritual maturity but an encouragement to fellow brethren to stay in the Light. God desires for Christians to be growing and changing spiritually; accordingly, He has given them all that is needed to experience this spiritual maturity. With the Holy Spirit’s help, every Christian can overcome sin and suffering by progressively becoming more like our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is not a one-time event but a lifelong pursuit.