A father was talking with his daughter and her 5-year-old friend, Kristin, about birthdays. Kristin’s was March 30 and the father’s was March 27. The father said, “You know what Kristin? Our birthdays are three days apart!” She looked up at him and then said, “Yeah, but you grew much faster than I did!”
Why is it that some people grow faster spiritually than others? Why is it that some people make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and then fall away, while others make a commitment that lasts a lifetime?
It all comes down to doing everything we can to grow spiritually. We need to understand that there is God’s part and there is our part.
The Bible tells us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 nkjv). A more accurate translation of that verse would be, “Carry to the goal and fully complete.” What this means is we are “working out” what God has “worked in.”
But then that Scripture goes on to say, “For it is God who works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.” Clearly there are some things only God can do, and some things only you can do. For instance, only God can save a person. Only God can forgive and forget our sins. Only God can change the human heart.
But at the same time, only I can believe. Only I can repent. Only I can follow.
Have you ever eaten something that turned your stomach? This is exactly how Jesus feels about lukewarm people.Is It Possible to Change Ourselves?
We like the idea of change, of starting over again, of becoming someone different than we are. Sometimes we move to a new place, thinking we can escape our problems. Sometimes we think if we get some new friends or get married that life will be better. Then we think if only we had kids things would be different.Even Atheists Have Moments of Doubt
Perhaps you have heard of George Bernard Shaw. We was a highly regarded thinker and writer and, among other things, won a Nobel Prize in literature. He also was an avowed and vocal atheist. Shaw firmly believed in science and what mankind could accomplish. But toward the end of his life, he realized this was a misplaced hope. He wrote, “The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, led, instead, directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who lost his faith.”
It may seem that hope is in short supply in our times of crisis. But Pastor Greg Laurie says, “Hope grows in the garden of adversity.” Tune in for A NEW BEGINNING Friday as Pastor Greg helps us find strength and direction, from the Lord Himself. It’s a reassuring edition of A NEW BEGINNING!All Sermons by Greg Laurie