I’m not the most patient person. Some things I dislike because they seem to keep me from doing things I like. When I was a kid, I thought baths were a waste of time that I could be using to do something important… like playing outside. So I started whittling down the amount of time it takes to get a shower. That worked pretty well until I got bigger. The time I shaved off the shower was now needed to get all the way around me. Haircuts are the same way. At least as I get older there is less to cut, so nature is working with me on that one. But still… sitting in a chair as I get my haircut seems counter-productive. But it is a necessary evil, so I do it.
You may have some of these things in your own life. The thing is, you know they are coming yet you try to put them off for as long as possible. But when the time arrives, you just have to go through it. Our computers need updates from time to time. I enjoy my computer. It is a tool of work, and also a toy for enjoyment. Every so often I see a notification that tells me the computer needs to update. It gives me the option to initiate the update immediately, or put it off for a later time. You know which one I pick. Sometimes I can go for days and constantly click on “Install Update Later”. Eventually the computer outsmarts me and starts the update on its own… to my dismay, and benefit.
As the update installs, there is another notification telling me to not turn the computer off while it updates. It must know how impatient I am. I finally comply with the instructions on the screen. It is amazing. After the updates, I am very pleased with how the computer runs. Some of the problems I was having before the update are now gone. I was frustrated with the slow operation of the computer, but I wouldn’t take the time to let it fix itself.
I think this is a great picture of how we are in life. As believers we know we have not arrived. We know we aren’t perfect. Along the way we need to be updated. God even gives us notifications that an update is needed… and ready to be installed. But we put it off. Things don’t go well in our lives. We become impatient with people. Our pride wells up at inopportune times. We start focusing more on money than we should. We start hedging on the truth as deceit works its way into our life. Our lives get glitch. We get more frustrated. Things go from bad to worse. Eventually something happens that causes us to surrender to the inevitable.
The Holy Spirit begins updating our life. He takes out some things that were inhibiting our growth. He adds some things to make things run more smoothly. Basically He is cleaning us up and making us more like Christ. As He works, we become hopeful. Maybe this update will remove that spirit of gossip. Maybe when this is done I won’t use those obscene words I hope that this update helps me become more generous to the church and people in need.
But we must be patient. If we stop the update, we will thwart the process. God knows when He is done changing a certain part of our life. If we check out of the process too early, we can be in worse condition than when we started.
The apostle James put it this way when writing to some of the early Christians, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 4:2-4) God didn’t create us to be incomplete, running on an old system. He wants us to be exactly who we are supposed to be. We can be complete… perfect if you will. Right now, you can be everything you are supposed to be right now. You can’t be who you are going to be. There will be more updates in the future. But you can be up to date as a person.
This week, God will want to work in your life. When the notification pops up you should say, “Here I am, Lord. Work on me.” Then as He does, be patient and let Him finish. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.