A bleak mid-winter at the start of it. I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Sydney is freezing right now. If you’re reading this somewhere else around the globe, don’t laugh. Even for you, believe me, it’s cold right now.
In this wintering, considering the concept of progress feels completely counter intuitive. Progress at the moment is getting up each day and attempting to keep warm on the way to the shower. Actually, it’s attempting to keep warm the entire day, and potentially pulling out a morsel of productivity along the way.
I pulled the ipod out this week (remember them?). With all the NAPLAN marking, I felt I hadn’t listened to any worship music for a while and ye olde ipod has a significant store of that on there. So, I pulled it out.
Unsurprisingly, it had all the tracks that I used to listen to, 10-15 years ago. Unsurprisingly x2, this got me thinking about the concept of progress some more.
When you hear songs that you listened to in a particular time and place, all the memories associated with that time and place, float back into your brain. It’s no different with worship songs. The places you were, what you were doing… and where you were ‘at’ spiritually, all come flooding back.
There are some songs you hear that you don’t feel the same connection with as before. Does that mean you’re neglecting the ideas in those songs? Or have you matured and progressed in the faith to a different place?
What about if you listen to a song and feel that with that one, you’re still in the same space? Is that a good thing? Or a bad thing? Do we always have to progress? Or are there some things that we never want to progress away from?
I don’t think there’s a definite answer, rather a tension, well-communicated in two different verses:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians)
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly, —mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. (Corinthians)
In the Christian life we are both ever still – rooted – and forever moving forward – becoming increasingly spiritual (whatever that means). So in some ways in my Christian life, I should feel and/or be exactly the same as 15 years ago.
Yet maturity doesn’t allow us to remain as infants forever (pity, they get to sleep a lot!) but rather, we are continually striving forward in spiritual progress whilst still remaining in Christ.
And remaining in Christ means that we are led by him. He doesn’t leave us to stall in our spiritual lives if we are listening to him. We journey with him along the way that he leads. It may not seem like progress, but who am I to judge?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.“
And in resting in that knowledge, there is spiritual progress for sure.
Yours in multiple layers of clothing,