By Larry Ray Hafley
Perhaps most of our readers have been Christians for a long time. At least, they have been in Christ long enough to be teachers. See Hebrews 5:12-14. You may be one such person. You feel a little frustrated at your lack of progress and growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. That is good. You should feel a little bit of aggravation, a sense of not being satisfied with your undeveloped state. Do not let it turn you sour and bitter, though.
Examine yourself. Why have you not made the strides you think you should have made? Why are you still a baby in areas where you should now be a mature person?
First, it is a healthy sign if you even recognize your stunted stature. So, be encouraged by that fact. It is worse to be ignorant of such a plight than it is to be in the condition and conscious of it. Take heart; there is hope for you!
Second, do not blame others. It is not the preacher’s fault. It is not the fault of your brethren, your family or your daily associates. Besides, blaming others will not cure your ills. Knowing where you “caught” a cold does nothing to cure you. Knowing from whom you took the flu does not serve to salve your sickness. Thus, we can dispense with the wasted time and effort of blaming someone else.
Third, do you have a clear vision of where you should be in the Lord? Be specific. It is not enough to say, “I want to be a better person.” In what ways do you want to be better? What areas of your life need to be improved? Confess your faults to yourself as well as to the Lord.. Admit them. Next, what do you want to put in the place of your failings? If you do not put something right and good in the place of that which is extracted, you will find that your old sins will come back to the void you have created. Hence, it is essential that you put something positive in the place of that which was removed. Reflect. What will it be?
Fourth, remember that we all start at the same place in Christ. We all come to him as sinners in need of grace, mercy and forgiveness. We are all born as babies in Christ. One man does not buy his way into spiritual maturity. An elder that you esteem started right where you did. His money, his family, his job did not put him where he is in the Lord. He began right where you did. He came up out of the water just like you did-wet, forgiven, saved, a newborn baby in Christ. His growth, his strength of faith, and his influence for good were not bought over the counter. His education did not give him an inside track on godliness. The advantages one has are the fulfillment of opportunity which was seen and seized. It is there for you and me if we will take heed unto ourselves and unto the doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 3:14, 15).
Fifth, and finally, you are where you are in Christ because of your attitude. It is not money or intellect or skill that separates the faithful from the unfaithful, the workers from the shirkers, the babies from the men. It is attitude. When your attitude is right, you will prosper in the Lord and progress in the gospel of grace. It does not matter how many great men of God you may know. It does not matter that you may be privileged to sit at the feet of one of God’s greatest preachers. If your attitude is wrong, these things will not profit and you will not prosper. Your attitude toward God, toward His word, and toward your fellow man is why you are where you are in the Lord. If your attitude is wrong, ten thousand other blessings cannot save you. If your attitude is right, ten thousand hardships cannot sink you.
So, where are you in Christ? You are right where your attitude has put you. Now, what is your attitude?
Truth Magazine XXII: 25, p. 405
June 22, 1978