A friend of mine signs all of his emails, “Make Progress Daily.” As the old saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Progress is defined as forward or onward movement toward a destination. There is forward, neutral and reverse. So, if we are not making progress then we are losing ground.
In the Christian life forward progress is called sanctification … the process of becoming more and more in the image of Christ. Progress is necessary and expected. Progress should be natural and actively pursued in following Christ.
I recently was talking with a friend who played college basketball. In our conversation, she mentioned how she notices that many high school basketball players today tend to start warm ups by launching three pointers. She and I talked about how we were coached to start under the basket and warm up, only moving back once we had made several shots in a row from that distance. You do not just start launching 3’s without warming up. It’s a progression.
In the same way spiritually, we must make progress by “warming up”. We must follow Jesus and walk obediently where we are so God can grow us. He is preparing us for what He has for us.
Spiritual maturity is measured by demonstrative growth in our love for God and for others. Spiritual growth is meant to be continual progress in three vital relationships: a person’s relationship with God, with other believers and with unbelievers.
How can we be intentional about making progress daily in our sanctification? There is no insta-sanctification or seven steps to become successfully sanctified. It is slow, with many twists and turns. Coleman Ford identifies aspects of progressing in sanctification in his article 6 things every Christian needs to know about sanctification:
- “SANCTIFICATION TAKES PLACE IN TWO PARTS. Sanctification is the cooperative work of God and Christians (Phil. 2:12–13) by which ongoing transformation into greater Christlikeness occurs.
- SANCTIFICATION IS HARD. Regrettably, there is no silver bullet to sanctification.
- SANCTIFICATION HAPPENS BECAUSE WE’RE UNITED TO CHRIST. We are in Christ by faith, and he is in us by the power of the Spirit.
- SANCTIFICATION IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. We are unique human beings who have been affected by the fall in unique ways. Though we all suffer from the same disease, our symptoms are often different. We all have need of the Great Physician, but his remedies are as unique as the ones whom he created. Though sanctification is deeply personal, we must remember that the Alpha and Omega of sanctification is Christ himself.
- SANCTIFICATION IS A COMMUNITY PROJECT. Though sanctification is personal, it is also deeply corporate. Christians are called into a body, a group of other believers, in order to experience the work of the Spirit in our lives together.
- SANCTIFICATION IS SLOW.”
Make Progress Daily.