"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearer." 1Timothy 4:15-16 Amplified
Over the past two weeks I have watched my daughters emerge into the world of school. They proudly bear the title "iskolas" (school kid) now as they organize and pack their backpacks gearing up for another day of first grade. Two weeks ago life was the same old thing. And then it happened. They became first graders and a whole new world opened up for them.
After the first day, I asked Andi how it went. "It was AMAZING!" she cheered and Niki danced all the way home after the classes let out. It was sheer delight, facsination. And it did not stop there. Not only do they get to learn lessons and begin to read words by themselves and earn a periodic "piros pont" in their "űzenö". Andi and Niki also discovered the world of dance/gymnastics -- with possibilities of future competitions. WOW! Who knew such an exciting world existed?
Progress can be exciting. Andi and Niki were very content being Ovodas (kindergartners). Life was good, safe and comfortable. As the first day of school approached Niki showed signs of apprehension. What if she could not hack it? Was she really ready? But she had no choice. If progress was to be made she had to move forward into the unknown and she and Andi both discovered there was more to life than they had ever dreamed possible. And that's just first grade.
Of course the day is not too far off when the the thrill of schoolwork will lose its sparkle and dance/gymnastics class will feel so burdensome and tiring. But if progress is to be made that they might reach that next plateau of progress when again a new world opens up for them -- they have to persevere with what lies before them now.
Is it so different with our spiritual progress? Remember those moments in the journey of the Christian life where God just illuminated His truths to you in a new and exciting way. WOW! We did not know the Christian life could be so rich and deep and fulfilling! We felt as if we had arrived at some real spiritual maturity. "Look at me I am a spiritual "iskolas" now -- no longer a mere "ovodas" like so many others around me." What we did not realize is that as "big and mature" as we felt, we had only entered the first grade.
And in time, the work required to continue progressing in this level has become not-so-exciting anymore. But Paul exhorts Timothy to "persevere" that his progress may be a testimony leading to the salvation of others around him.
Just as Andi and Niki who are now learning that 2+2=4 cannot begin to comprehend astrophysics, I cannot help but wonder what depth of spiritual reality may exist out there for those who are willing to persevere and go deeper with Christ. Consider the possibilities. Even the most spiritual among us has likely scarcely scratched the surface of what the Christian life could be.