Do you think God’s happy when you’re making progress but not yet perfect? Consider that question as you listen to Paul: “Brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). That verse is fascinating. These Christians weren’t yet perfect (as the next verse implies), but Paul applauded them nonetheless. They were facing intense persecution and daily temptation, yet they were still following Jesus, and Paul couldn’t help but smile.
Paul is like the coach of a little kids’ football team. He calls them together, claps his hands, smacks them on the helmets, and shouts, “Yes! You did it! You ran the play just like I called it! Now, let’s try again and do it even faster!”
What a fresh way to approach spiritual growth! We shouldn’t take sin lightly. We dare not minimize the pain that our imperfections cause. Yet there is a time and place to thank God for growth, for every small step in his direction. As some Christians have said, “I’m not what I will be, but I’m not what I was!”
Today I’d like you to think about how you’ve grown as a Christian. What parts of your faith have gotten stronger in the past year or the past month? Take a moment and celebrate like an apostle. Thank God for progress even as you pursue perfection!