It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christ-like character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time.
Before Christ invades our lives at conversion, He sometimes has to "soften us up" by allowing problems we can't handle. While some open their lives to Christ the first time He knocks on the door, most of us are resistant and defensive. Our pre-conversion experience is Jesus saying, "Behold! I stand at the door and bomb!"
The moment you open yourself to Christ, God gets a "foothold" in your life. You may think you have surrendered all your life to Him, but the truth is, there's a lot to your life that you aren't even aware of. You can only give God as much of you as you understand at that moment. That's okay.
Once Christ is given a foothold, He begins the campaign to take over more and more territory until all of your life is completely His. There will be struggles and battles, but the outcome will never be in doubt. God has promised that "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6 MEV).
Talk It Over
- Describe your pre-conversion experience with the Lord. What did He allow to happen in your life that was meant to soften you up? How did you respond?
- What are the areas of your life that you have not yet surrendered to the Lord?
- What kind of fruit do you want God to produce in your life?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastorrick.org.
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