A Work in Progress
By Alex Peterson
In a way, we are all unfinished business, as far as God’s concerned. He’s started a lot of “projects” that are well begun, even perfect in their own right, but aren’t complete. Luckily for us, the Master never stops work on His creation—the molding, the shaping, the chiseling, the polishing are all to help us make progress and bring us closer to Him.
Here are five steps you can take to grow in your relationship with your heavenly Father.
Involve God in your decision-making. From the time we are small children, we learn through parental instruction. In the same way, we grow spiritually by learning to follow our Father’s instruction, turning to Him in prayer, and applying the spiritual principles in His Word to our decisions. (See James 1:5)
Exercise faith. Just as we learn through experience—suffering the consequences of wrong decisions and reaping the rewards of right decisions—we grow spiritually when our faith is tested and we see that it is the solution to life’s problems. (See James 1:3)
Give of yourself. As we forget ourselves and focus on meeting the needs of others and making them happy, we become conduits of God’s love to those people. And as we pour out, God pours into us. “Sometimes you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy. Generosity will be rewarded.” (Proverbs 11:24–25 CEV)
Recognize and work on weak areas. We all have room for improvement. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) It’s not too hard to accept in a general way that we are imperfect. It gets harder when we get specific about our mistakes or weaknesses. It’s humbling to acknowledge where we fall short, even if only to ourselves and God. But doing so helps put us on the fast track to spiritual progress. (See James 4:10)
Take on new challenges. It’s human nature, particularly as we grow older, to say, “This is the kind of person I am” or “I can do this, but not that,” but that attitude stunts our growth. When we close ourselves off to new information, ideas, or challenges, we stop growing intellectually and spiritually. When we close ourselves off from other people, we stop growing emotionally. We can only make progress by moving forward, and the way we move forward is by rising to new challenges.
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