These are good words from a commentary-like book Eugene Peterson wrote on Ephesians, Practice Resurrection. They have to do with Christian growth and maturity. I especially like how Peterson wraps the discussion up. It’s a good reminder for Christians today amidst all the Christian fads, trends, programs, visions, conferences and such: there is no “instant” in progressive sanctification. It’s a life-long work of God by his Spirit through the ordinary means of grace. We shouldn’t look for spiritual steroids, because there are none!
“The Christian life has a goal, famously put by Paul in an earlier letter: ‘I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind (Phil. 3:14-15). The mature life in Christ does not dillydally. It doesn’t chase after fads. But any focus on a goal that dismisses, ignores, and avoids spouse, children, and neighbors who are perceived as impediments to pressing on to the ‘heavenly call’ simply doesn’t understand the way the goal functions in the mature life.
“The Christian life is not a straight run on a track laid out by a vision statement formulated by a committee. Life meanders much of the time. Unspiritual interruptions, unanticipated people, uncongenial events cannot be pushed aside in our determination to reach the goal unimpeded, undistracted. ‘Goal-setting,’ in the context and on the terms intended by a leadership-obsessed and management-programmed business mentality that infiltrates the church far too frequently, is bad spirituality. Too much gets left out. Too many people get brushed aside.”
“Maturity cannot be hurried, programmed, or tinkered with. There are no steroids available for growing up in Christ more quickly. Impatient shortcuts land us in the dead ends of immaturity” (p. 133).