I struggle with this reality. In fact, my lack of acceptance of the slow pace of growth in Christ can undermine my own pursuit of God and of Christlike character. I want instant results, and when they don’t come I get frustrated and my motivation wanes. Related to this, I enjoy reading about the various spiritual disciplines, from writers both past and present. Yet when I do, I become more aware of the vast array of practices that can help us appropriate God’s grace and open our lives to him. I then think I must be engaged in all of these, or at least many of them.
Recently, however, I was reminded in a helpful way of the fact that slowness in the spiritual life is a reality, and that there is no need to fight against it. This past week I listened to an episode of the Renovare podcast, in which Nathan Foster and Australian pastor Andrew Ranucci discuss the value of spiritual retreats and growth in Christ. At Ranucci’s church, they focus on one discipline per year. While this seems slow, in 6 years people will have engaged in and hopefully come to habitually practice 6 different disciplines that foster openness to God and to the process of spiritual growth.
I highly recommend listening to this podcast, especially the second half of it. It is always good to be reminded that in the spiritual life, we ought to take a long-term view as we walk the path of a long obedience in the same direction.