Instead, we know the baby will first have to learn to roll over, then crawl and then practice standing up. Their first few steps will be unsteady, and it may take months for them to walk without help.
It takes a few years for the entire transformation to occur. But in the end, we expect most children to be running, long before they go to school.
While this transformation is taking place, you would never expect to hear a parent scold their child for crawling when they couldn’t walk yet. Even after the child begins to walk, a parent doesn’t discipline a child for falling while trying to walk.
Instead, a parent comes alongside their child and picks them up. They encourage them to try again. A parent holds their hands and steadies them, helping them to learn balance until they master it themselves.
Parents expect their children will walk in the future, so they’re patient as they focus on the future instead of the past.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could be this patient when we’re looking for changes in ourselves and others? Especially when we see that the transformation we long for is taking years to achieve.
In the process of trying to change, there will be setbacks. We will fall back into old habits and comfortable routines. We will do what comes naturally and put off the hard work of change.
For the Christian, though, change must come. The message of the gospel is too good to allow us to remain unchanged.
On the surface, it may look like there is no real change taking place. But when the gospel is at work, we are promised that the most significant transformation is genuinely happening.
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Paul doesn’t say we might be changed. He tells us that we are in the process of being transformed in such a marvelous way that someday we will display the same glory that Jesus reveals right now.
While that transformation is taking place, we need to be as patient as a parent watching their child learning to walk. We must look to the future, trusting that the Lord is willing to hold our hands. Finally, don’t be afraid if it takes years to see progress.
Change takes time, but when the gospel is involved, the changes that occur will be good. o