Friday, October 09, 2009

Baby Steps

One of the most important things I learned in my class lecture this week was to celebrate and "validate incremental change short of perfection." We're doing self-counseling projects--I've chosen an area of sin in my life, and over these few months, I am trying to tackle it. I'm looking at specific failures, taking them apart, exploring the idols of my heart, turning to the living God and pursuing change.

It's discouraging. I'm not seeing the kind of total transformation I long for. But this week, Dr. Powlison reminded us that one of our goals is simply to deal well with failure. Perfection isn't a reasonable goal this side of heaven. We need to strive for victory, yes--but we need to learn to find grace when we fail.

One sign of grace we can celebrate is incremental change. Put your guilt in context, he instructed us. "It's not what it should be, true. But it's better than it was." Recognizing even the slightest bit of progress should encourage us and challenge us to take the next step forward.

So that's why, when I am tempted to despair, I may need to look backwards. Yes, Paul tells us to forget what is behind and strain toward what's ahead. But there's also value in seeing how far we have come. I want to recognize and celebrate every small victory God gives. Every baby step I take is a testimony--not of my willpower or self-control, but of God's mercy and empowering grace.

Of course, ultimately I look backwards not a week or six months or ten years, but two millennia. I look to the cross, where my righteousness was purchased, where my identity as God's beloved daughter was secured. I look to Jesus, whose obedience was flawless and whose death covers my sins. And I rest in the promise that one day, I will be completely transformed to reflect His beauty!


laurie said...

this was so timely for me, Amy. thanks for writing it. i want to take the classes you are taking one day. we are doing changing hearts changing lives in church through caregroups. i think it is going to have a profound effect on all of us!

Sandra Leigh said...