Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
No one instantly becomes an expert. It always takes time. It takes practice. It takes repetition to break old habits and ways of thinking. Building new habits and thinking always takes time.
I grew up at the apron strings of my mom and helped her cook during my early childhood days. I was the one who brought up the cans of tomatoes from the basement pantry. I was the one who brought in the meats from the car. I was by her side whenever she made spaghetti sauce. But there came a time when I decided that cooking was going to be my hobby. And while I had lots of background and experience, it wasn’t nearly enough. I had to buy good knives and practice for myself. I had to read recipes and experiment with spices for myself.
The same is true for our spiritual journey. There is a turning point when we start to follow Jesus, giving him our sin and receiving his un-sin, his righteousness. And then starts the life-long, daily walk with God. It’s true for us and the great Apostle Paul.
Paul had a miraculous meeting with Jesus after his resurrection. It was a life-changing event. But that wasn’t the end of it, it was only the beginning. He then had to meet Ananias to be healed and baptized.He then had to get his feet wet, preaching that Jesus is the Son of God.
And after a while, the Jewish leaders put together a plot to kill Paul, but he escaped in a basket that was lowered over the wall. He then went into the desert of Arabia for three years. It was only then that he traveled to Jerusalem and was introduced to the disciples by Barnabas.
You see, even for the great Apostle Paul, it took one step at a time. One lesson built on another over time. One experience on top of another. He didn’t meet Jesus and then sit down and write the book of Romans. It took many steps, many experiences.
The good news is that this process, this walking with God, takes the rest of our life. We get to live daily with God where we get to listen and learn from him about who God is, how he made us, how he loves us. We get to bring him our enemies and he fights for us. We also bring him all our pain, problems, disappointments, sorrows, and worries. He comforts, encourages, and holds us tight.
This walking with Jesus is a process. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Apostle Paul or just plain old you and me. It’s a process. It takes time. It takes experiences. It takes repetition. It takes practice. It even takes failure.
Yes, Paul had a terrific and excellent upbringing and background. Yes, he had an exceptional education that prepared him for his calling. But he still had to go through the daily walking with God. He had to put one foot in front of the other. He had to live it one day at a time.
There is no such thing as sudden maturity. Just as there is no way to upload software to our brain and say, “I Know Kung Fu” there is no app that you can install for instant growth in Christ. There is no website where you can download a document that will give you immediate spiritual maturity.
It’s a day by day, moment by moment, living and walking with Jesus. There are no shortcuts. There are no life hacks that let you take a secret passage. There is no card you can pick up in life that allows you to go directly to maturity.
I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is. There are no backdoors that get you there without going through life. It’s a daily, painful, exhausting walking with Jesus. You have to go through the moment-by-moment agony and time with him. You need to experience it all with him. After all, he went through it just like we do.
Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 GNT
Jesus went through life, moment-by-moment, just like we do. But with one great big exception; he never sinned. He looked temptation right smack dab in the face and said, “Yes, I want your will to be done, not mine.” He was willing to take the steps to the cross for us. How can we give him anything less than ourselves?
List the things that you’ve had to work hard at to become better at.
What progress have you seen in your walk with God?
Why won’t short-cuts work with our relationship with God?