Read: "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" (Philippians 1:5-6, NLT).
Think About it: "When can I learn how to punch?" Can you reminisce the iconic scene in the 1980's blockbuster breakout hit, The Karate Kid? Daniel had been painting the fence, sanding the deck, washing the cars, and who can forget the infamous "wax on, wax off?" He'd learned so much through ways and means that were less conventional, quite confusing, yet surprisingly convincing in his quest to learn the art of karate. The location of the action had now moved to a quiet calm lake in late fall, with the air pleasant, yet the waters cold. Daniel is balancing on the stern of the fishing boat talking with Mr. Myagi about his desperate desire to learn how to punch. The karate tournament he had been preparing for was fast approaching and he was now more concerned with what he hadn't learned rather than focusing on perfecting all that he had learned. "When can I learn how to punch?" Mr. Myagi, in his light-hearted, straight as an arrow focus, quipped back as he literally rocked the boat, "Learn how punch when learn HOW KEEP BALANCE!"
Going Deeper: The culture of impatience isn't a new concept for the contemporary times. Human nature has often desired the false satisfaction of instant gratification. What is wanted is wanted now. Later is too late, and even now is not soon enough. The Apostle Paul spoke of this in his letter to the Philippian church. "When God starts something, which is evident that He has in you, He is faithful to complete it." It can only be imagined that the inner struggles those new followers of Christ had encountered are starkly similar to the ones you may find familiar today. It is undeniably true that when Jesus was on the cross He cried out, "It is finished." All that He needed to do to provide all that you needed for eternity was finished. How that is applied in your daily life is a continual work in progress. You are a work in progress. Don't become discouraged when you face a season in life when the excitement is less and the hopes and dreams seem to follow suit. You are not perfect and still make mistakes, but are in a perfecting process. Jesus sees you, knows you, and is working in you. He's not finished with you yet.
Next Step: What is an area that you find yourself struggling with? Is it an addictive behavior, maybe eating too much, exercising too little, smoking, excess drinking, pride, laziness, control issues, or lack of control issues? Rather than being your worse critic and living in a funk of perpetual discouragement when you find that, "once again" you've failed, try this. Take one struggle at a time. What's the struggle? What are the sparks, meaning, when are the times that "spark" the struggle as easiest to fall into? What scripture can you find in the Bible that counters that struggle and speaks God's truth to the challenge you face? Depend upon God for the strength when the struggle is sparked again. Finally, stand strong as you let God work in you, change you, and see the change through you. Don't give up. Don't be discouraged, because He's not finished with you yet!