Over the last week, I’ve started reading some new books that we’ve had in our home for a long while and seem perfect companions for me right now. One of those books, by a fellow brother in Christ named Watchman Nee, is called TheNormal Christian Life.
I’ve just this morning opened its pages for the first time and haven’t yet progressed further than the opening preface and table of contents, but I can already tell is it going to help clarify and crystallize elements of our life with God that I have written down in snatches here and there and intuited inside for a great long while.
For instance, one of the first things I noticed is that several of the chapters begin with the phrase “The Path of Progress.” I assume this means that the author has identified stages of the Christian faith that occur along the way of our formation with God.
The main thing I want to notice is the fact of this formation itself: there is a path, and we progress along it.
Our life with God is not a destination. It is not a one-time deal that gets infused into us at a particular moment in time and then is finished forever.
Yes, there is an end point in the great, grand scope of things. This would be heaven, also known as the new earth in which we will live and reign with God at the end of time. And yes, in the eyes of God, the new life given to us in Christ, because of his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, makes us sons and daughters who find full acceptance and freedom before God.
But what happens at the end of time and what we gain at the moment of salvation is not the whole picture. It’s also about what happens in between those two points in time. That is a really important element in the whole scope of it.
There is a path of progress. There is a process of formation that continues while we live. And I, for one, absolutely adore and am grateful for this process.
This path of progress is about learning the kingdom of God and what it means to live inside of it. It is about being conformed ever more into the image of Christ. It is about growing more and more fully into the reality of our true selves.
Do you consider your life as one that follows a path of progress?