“He chose… Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor” (Luke 6:13,16, NKJV, emphasis mine).
“[Abraham], contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations” (Rom. 4:18, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Do you notice what I notice about these two Scriptures? Both of them involve a man becoming something critically important… something of eternal implications. Judas was not a traitor at the outset. And Abraham was not the father of many nations at the outset either. Both of them went through a prolonged, involved process of becoming.
This very moment, we are all becoming something. You are becoming something. I am becoming something. In this same chapter mentioning Judas’ “becoming,” Jesus also said this: “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit” (Luke 6:43, NKJV). Whether for good or for bad, the trees of our lives, by nature, are going to produce fruit. The fruit may be in baby stage, or it may be further along. It may be so ripe that we are about to come into enormous blessing, or devastating destruction. Whatever the case may be on the stage of development, we are all producing fruit. We are all becoming something.
Are we becoming more like Jesus each day? Are we becoming kinder? Are we becoming gentler? Are we becoming stronger in the power of His Spirit? Are we becoming more patient? Are we becoming more joyful? More loving? More compassionate? More understanding? More hungry for His presence? More sensitive to His voice? More obedient to His promptings?
Or are we becoming more irritable? More angry about the state of the world? More worried? More anxious? More fearful? More bitter? More impatient with people on the other side of the political spectrum? More stubborn? More set in our ways?
The thing about growth, whether it be in the wrong or right direction, is that it tends to happen slowly, nearly imperceptibly. Jesus has no unrealistic expectations for us. Just as we would not expect a seven-year-old to excel in calculus, He places no pressure on us to quickly transmogrify into something far beyond where we currently are at in spiritual maturity. In fact, He puts no pressure on us at all. Instead, He simply asks us to abide in Him.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5, NKJV).
As we learn to live our lives remaining connected closely to Him, the beautiful fruit of His Spirit will, by nature, gradually mature on our branches. And we will produce much fruit. What an amazing promise!
Slowly, gradually, bitterly, baby step by baby step… Judas became a traitor. Slowly, gradually, clinging to faith, baby step by baby step… Abraham became the father of nations.
Slowly and gradually, baby step by baby step… what are you and I becoming today?
Have you ever been through a spiritual growth spurt, where you noticed faster growth than normal in your life? What do you attribute that to? Should we hope for growth spurts, or be contented with slow and steady growth?