Church Blog

Patient Grace

Chad Haygood

What comes to your mind when you think about your spiritual growth? What is your expectation of growth? Are you hoping and praying for a tremendous work of God's grace in your life in the near future that sets you free from the sins and burdens that you're struggling with today? How do you expect to become more like Jesus throughout the rest of 2015?

One of the ways that I frequently think about growing spiritually is through the monumental encounters with God. You know what I'm talking about: the once (or twice) in a lifetime encounters that are never forgotten; an experience where I jump from level 2 to 6 in an instant. When I am most passionate about my own growth in Christ, it's not uncommon for these experiences to become my expectation and desire.

There is no doubt that God is working to grow us. We are blessed with the incredible promise that "he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) but how is God doing this work? On Sunday, I mentioned and recommended to you the book Ordinary by Michael Horton. Among many other things, I have been challenged by my perception and expectation of growth through this book. Horton argues, and I am coming to finally grasp and understand, that growth in Christ happens slowly, patiently, and through "ordinary" means of grace. How does true growth happen among God's people? Not through the radical experiences of God's extraordinary presence, but through the "ordinary" encounters with God through his Word, prayer, sacraments, and worship. God is working to complete the work in you and I through the long process of daily discipline and faithfulness to those means that God has given us. Certainly, it is God who works to grow his people, but he works through means and the means most often used are those means we deem as "ordinary".

Don't despise the daily work God is doing in your life as you encounter him through his Word and prayer. Realize the extraordinary word that God is doing through the "ordinary" gathering of the church for worship. God is doing incredible things through these means and it's our privilege to participate in them. God is slowly and patiently making us like Jesus. He is slowly and patiently changing our hearts. He is slowly and patiently maturing us. These are miraculous works, and they are happening over time.

My expectation of growth has changed. My expectation of growth in other people has changed. While I long and expect God's manifest presence, I also treasure the "ordinary". Let's not despise them, but expect God to do great things through them.