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; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 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. 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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The Christian life is a dynamic walk in which no one can ever say “I have arrived.” That’s a statement I have made many times in a variety of contexts to describe what being a Christian is. It doesn’t come from the Bible, but I believe it is what the Bible teaches. It certainly doesn’t say all the Bible says about the Christian life, but it does say a lot. Read it again: the Christian life is a dynamic walk in which no one can ever say “I have arrived.”

Describing the Christian life as a walk suggests a certain amount of effort on our part. You cannot be passive and walk at the same time. When we walk we are going somewhere; even if we are just taking a casual stroll we are moving. To make sure I wanted to stay with the word dynamic to modify walk I looked up the definition. The first definition given was “a process characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.”

To speak of the Christian life as a walk characterized by constant change, activity, and progress implies growth in our Christian lives. I hope all of us who are Christians want to be growing in our walks. It is helpful for me to remind myself that to grow in Christ there are some things I need to stop doing and some other things I need to begin doing or do better. I have no idea what those activities, attitudes, practices, and disciplines might be for you, but I have zeroed in on a few for myself as we begin the New Year. (In my previous post I indicated I want to chip away at pride and cultivate humility this year.)

When it comes to growth and progress in our Christian lives the reality is that we are not always growing at the same rate. There are seasons when we grow rapidly and other times when our progress is slow. In my life there have been and are periods when I make little or no progress; and to be honest, for many of us there are times when we actually regress. What seems most important to me is that if we graphed our walk in terms of time and growth, even though the growth line would be up and down, the overall direction would be up.

One final observation: to say the Christian life is a dynamic walk in which no one can ever say “I have arrived” affirms we never get to the point in our walk when we have no more room for growth. We make progress for sure, but the movement and progress is never completed in this life. Hear how the Apostle Paul says it in Philippians 3:12: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ first possessed me” (NLT).

Heavenly Father, thank you for the call, opportunity, and privilege to walk with and follow Jesus. We know we have not done anything to deserve what you have done for us by your grace. We ask that you show us the way, convict us of things we need to stop doing and show us what we need to begin to do or do better, and help us to grow and become what you have called us to be. We know we will not become perfect in this life, but help us never use that as a reason not to press on. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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