The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own (AMP).
It’s important to understand that our life in Christ is a lifelong journey, and the goal is to actively press on each day to become what He has created us to be.
And just because we haven't arrived at perfection, it doesn't mean that we're not making progress in our walk with God.
It's true that we all still have room for improvement. I used to get discouraged about how far I had to go, and it seemed like I was reminded of it every day, sometimes every hour of the day.
I struggled with a constant sense of inadequacy and insecurity—a feeling that I just wasn't who I needed to be, I wasn't doing enough, and I needed to try harder. Yet when I did try harder, I only failed again.
I had to learn that the process of growing in Christ takes time, and I have to be diligent in moving forward by praying and studying God’s Word every day.
The process isn’t easy; changing often involves growing pains. But the results are so much better than settling for just staying the way we are.
Romans 12:2 explains how we’re transformed and how is benefits us: …Be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you] (AMP).
Wow! That’s a radical transformation that leads to an amazing life!
And while we’re going through the process, we can have the attitude, I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay, and I'm on my way!
Like the apostle Paul, we haven't already been made perfect, but we can be confident that God is pleased that we’re pressing on and want to keep improving.
So keep pursuing a Christlike life one step at a time. And enjoy the journey! God certainly doesn’t want us to be miserable because we’re always focused on how far we have to go.
Think about it like this: If I invited you to take a walk, you'd think I was crazy if I became angry after the first few steps because we hadn't reached our destination. In the same way, God expects it to take some time for us to grow spiritually, one step at a time.
Here’s another example: When a one-year-old is learning to walk, we don’t get mad at him because he falls down often. No, we encourage him to get back up and keep trying. We pick him up, love him, bandage him if necessary, and keep working with him. Surely our heavenly Father can do even more for us than we do for our children.
Enjoy yourself while you're changing. Enjoy where you are on the way to where you're going and celebrate your progress while you’re on your way. Because in Christ, you’re free to enjoy the journey!