I know the frustration which builds within myself. I see where my life is right now, and where I am called to be. I see the beauty of Christ likeness, then I see how unlike Christ my actions, attitudes, and thoughts are. I hear the magnificent high calling God has for me in Christ to follow Him no matter the cost. Yet, I mourn about the fact that my feet continue to drag in the dirt when trying to follow this call. I can get so frustrated with where I am at in my Christian life. Christ summons all of my life, and I want him to have it all; but oh, there is so much of my life which is in pattern to my old life. I have such a long way to go.
I do know this lack of sanctification does not disrupt my standing with God. My assurance with God is not found in how well I am doing. Instead, my assurance is found in the objective, unchanging, firm work of Christ. When doubts about my relation to God creep in my mind the sole place I turn is God’s work, not mine. I did not plan on being saved from my sinful condition, the Father planned before the beginning of time to save me. I did not find a way out of my rebellion, Christ came to me in this world of rebellion against Him. I could never atone for my sins, Christ offered Himself in my place to take the wrath that should have been mine. I could never bring forth the faith to believe, so the Spirit gave me a new birth. This is the rock I rest on, that God is for me. He is the one who saved and justified me. What God is, is sure and unmoving. Though my feelings sway from happiness to depression when looking upon my short comings; God’s love and work of salvation never changes.
So I am not hopeless amidst these short comings. I know that God is always for me because of His work in sending Christ in my place. But what to do with these frustrations in my failures?
I do not believe that God wants me or you to live and identify with our lack of conformity to Christ. God says in Romans 6:13 that in the heat of this battle to do righteousness and to turn from sin that we are “those who have been brought from death to life.” Christians are a resurrected people. A change has happened. Newness of life has come. No ,we have not reached the full resurrection of the new creation. But the beginnings of that full resurrection has already happened in our lives when we trusted in Christ. God is now at work in my life and in yours, if you are trusting your life and salvation with Christ. The dominion of sin has been broken, and a new work has begun. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22).
Did you read that? There is fruit coming from this new life! Fruits of righteousness are now a part of my life and your life. Just think, before our newness of life we were dead tree stumps. Rotting and degrading. But now, by the resurrecting power of God there is life! We are living branches in the source of life, Christ. And what we get to experience now is fruit! Do you grasp this? What was once dead is now having the fruit of the Spirit come from it. What has once barren now has the fruit of Christ’s righteousness coming from its branches!
What rejoicing is mine and yours in the truth that we are producing works of righteousness. Do I live perfectly? No, sadly. I long for the time that no selfishness will destroy relationships, when no sin will come between me and Christ. Even though, however, I don’t have it perfectly, I can see the fruit coming from my life. I can experience a life where, even though it is a little bit, I get to do selfless acts. I get to serve others, though the fruit is small. I get to experience and live the joy of of obedience and faith, though little it may be. A little fruit is better than no fruit.
I can rejoice in the little strides of righteousness that are done in me by the Spirit. For such things are a fore taste of the coming banquet of the coming new heavens and new earth. Praise God I get small experiences with the assurance that I am going to have in full in a coming day. Rejoice, oh my soul, for there is fruit!