God wants me to be holy yet he takes so long to make me holy. He wants me to flee sexual immorality yet he seems so far when I need his help fighting it. Why is it taking so long for me to beat this sin?
Here are some reasons he delays in making us as holy as he ultimately wants us to be.
A Thousand Years is as One Day
What seems like an extremely long wait for us goes by in an instant for God.
When you’ve been around for an eternity already, a thousand years doesn’t seem very long. It is a lot easier for a 64 year old man to wait one more year for his retirement than a four year old to wait a year for Christmas. The first is waiting 1/65 of his life; the other, 1/5.
It may take God 50 years to make you like his Son, but that doesn’t mean there’s no urgency on his part. That doesn’t mean he is being lazy about your redemption. It does not mean that he is pointlessly waiting a long time while you are suffering holy dissatisfaction with yourself. He is not silent or slow; He is merely eternal. To him it happens as if in an instant.
Beauty is Found in Both Gradients and Stark Contrasts
Beautiful art often has both gradual shifts in color and hard lines of different colors.
Both are elements of beauty. There is a reason you are more moved by a sunset sky filled with vibrant gradients than a simply clear blue sky. God loves gradual change and so do you. Growth is the same way.
Look around you. It is abundantly clear that God loves growth over time. Trees start as seeds; rivers, as streams; canyons and mountains, as flatlands; buildings, as lumber. These things are all majestic. They are wonder-ful. The sight of them can take your breathe away. They demand reverence and awe.
The longer and harder they fought to get there the more incredible they are. That is what every battle is making you. God is making you majestic, heirs to his kingdom.
The Father Delights in the Relationship from Growth Over Time
Not only does he love growth, but he loves the relationship that comes from it.
The intimacy and dependency that comes from the long wrestle could not come if you were easily made perfect. We are always utterly dependent on God, even for the very breath we breathe. But an oasis relationship with God requires time in the desert. God loves when you thirst for him like that. And it’s not that it makes him more enjoyable but rather it shows you how satisfying he always is.
He is Reminding You That Anything Other Than Instant Destruction is Grace
The payment for sin is death. And you were born a sinner.
The fact that anyone is alive at all right now is evidence of grace. Don’t forget what you deserve. The Lord of all creation, of all beauty and goodness made you to love him with all your heart. You cheated on him and gave your heart to the things he introduced you to out of love.
Yes, the constant battle to kill sin is literally excruciating but you deserve to be eternally ripped apart and burned alive. No one wants you to be holy more than God does. He put his Son through the decreation you deserve to make you holy. Be thankful!
God’s own glory was revealed over time, so it makes sense that our future glory would be too. First he came in a bush, then a cloud, then an ark and a temple. Finally, after thousands of years he came as the fullness of himself in Jesus Christ, even then there was a veil as he came humbly. The day is still to come when he will be revealed to the world in full glory. Jesus has to wait for his full glory. Because we are united with him, we are waiting with him. We are weak and we fail as we wait for him. We are constantly unfaithful. But our hope is not in ourselves. Our hope is in the one who has faithfully waited an eternity to bring us where we are now. He will remain faithful as he brings us the rest of the way.
What did I miss? Can you think of some other reasons why God chooses to sanctify us slowly over time?
How does knowing this help you fight for holiness today?