Most of us probably remember traveling by car with our family when we were children and asking our parents, “Are we almost there?” We were not only looking forward to getting to where we were going, but also were tired of riding, hungry, and needed to use the restroom. Our question was both an expression of anticipation as well as notification that we were getting tired.
I think a lot of us who have been Christians for some time periodically ask ourselves, “Am I almost there?” That question reminds us that living the Christian life is a journey in which we make progress and look forward to eventually arriving at our destination.
From time to time I am reminded that after all the years I have been traveling the journey of a Christian, I am not there yet—as a matter of fact, I am not even almost there. When I realize I have said or done something I should not have done or said I am reminded that I am not there yet, or even almost there. The same is true when I realize I have not done or said something that I should have said or done. I like to warn believers that the Christian life is a dynamic life in which no one can say in this life “I have arrived.”
There are a variety of texts in the New Testament that reinforce the premise that the Christian life is a journey of progress in which Christians become more and more the person God has called us to be. Two of my favorites are from the best known apostles Paul and Peter.
In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul reminds his readers that he has not arrived at his goal, but that he is pressing on. He tells these Christians (as well as us) that he is forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. He is pressing on toward the goal.
In II Peter 1:3-9 Peter reminds his readers that God has given us everything we need for a godly life. In verses 5-9 he challenges them (and us), “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”
These two passages give us a lot to think about as well as challenge and encourage us. The reality is that we are not there yet or even almost there, but hopefully we are continuing to make progress. One final thought: we are not loved, forgiven, or saved because of our progress. We make progress because we are saved, forgiven, and loved.
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