BY RACHEL AXTMANN
This notion of wanting it all and wanting it now has become a reality in many ways. Think of all the ways we have become accustomed to receiving instant, quick gratification – high speed internet, same day delivery options, instant streaming of movies and television shows, apps to make reservations, request rides, and read reviews. We can order groceries and food online. We can even have it prepared and delivered. We get instant feedback on social media through likes and comments.
With all these “enhancements” to our modern world, you’d think they’d serve to free us up on some much-needed time and result in a slower paced life. But ironically, they are serving to make us more and more impatient with anything that doesn’t just happen instantly.
Waiting in traffic is torture! If our internet is slow, we lose our minds. We opt for the self-checkout line to avoid waiting in line at the grocery store. Instead of calling someone and waiting for them to return the message, we text. When we receive a text, we can’t wait to respond. We need to grab our phones immediately. We even order our food in advance so we don’t have to wait at a restaurant. Waiting for the next episode of our favorite show… no thank you! I’ll Netflix it. Watching a commercial? Nah! No time for these things!
So how does our current world of instant gratification affect our faith? I believe we may be tempted to put that same need for having it all when we want it (which is now) on God. It can be discouraging if we don’t get the answer to our prayers right away or if it isn't what we had in mind. I read my “verse of the day,” why am I not growing in my faith? Why does God feel distant? Why am I not hearing from God? I guess I'll figure this life out myself.
It takes time for good things to grow. God is trying to grow within us perseverance.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2
Unlike our instant gratification culture, faith is a journey. The more you cultivate your heart in the things of the Lord, the more you grow…the more you grow, the more you reap a harvest. It takes intentional commitment and work to grow a faith that not only lasts, but thrives. Just like a seed needs time, water, sun, pruning and care before it reaches maturity, our journey of faith needs time set aside each day to read God’s word, to just be quiet and pray, to refresh, to be pruned, to fast, and to grow.
Ever hear the phrase, “what comes easy won’t last, but what lasts won’t come easy?” This is true of building our spiritual muscle. It takes patience and a daily commitment. Don’t throw in the towel if you get off track or if you hit a rough patch in your life and find that other things take precedence. This is when we need to cling to God’s love and grace the most. Begin again. Some of you may need to recommit yourself today to the work of gardening and tending to your soul.
Let's not let all the modern advances in the world around us seep into our perception of what it truly means to follow after Jesus. It’s so much more than a just quick fix in a time of trouble.
“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught…” Colossians 2:6-7