In Process - Romans 1

Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Romans…

 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

 A couple of years ago, I was standing with a bunch of people listening to my mentor Dr. Martin Sanders (that’s what usually happens when we’re in his company!) talk about emerging leaders.  It was a good and insightful conversation.  And yet, there was something “strange” about the whole conversation as well.  Then it hit me.  I wasn’t actually part of the conversation.  The subject matter was emerging leaders and I realized that I am no longer one of them.  It’s not a knock on myself.  In fact, it’s just a point of reality.  However, though I am no longer an emerging leader, I am now considered one who has emerged—or at least one who should have emerged as a leader.  Being called an emerging leader is so much easier.  We can always default to the “in the process” excuse for some of the developmental things that we’re “slacking” on.  I understand grace and how we’re always “in process.”  However, this “emerged” status forces us to take a good hard look at the current state of our process and assess its progress.  If you’re like me, I’m my worst critic.  And some of it is viable.  Others are not.  It’s always important to have people in our lives to offer us life-giving perspective (though no matter how life-giving it may be, hard conversations are always hard!).          

Yesterday, I talked about the Apostle Paul’s description of himself as a bond-servant.  In that same line he writes of himself—“called as an apostle,” as well.  As he burst onto the scene as this superstar apostle of God, it’s important that we’re reminded that he too was “in process” and remained in process until the end of his days.  After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, it wasn’t actually until 13-14 years had passed that he fully embraced his call to apostleship.  During that entire time, I’m sure that there was plenty of work that was being done in his life as an emerging leader.  Even when he “emerged, I can’t help but wonder how he processed his mistakes—he’s not Jesus!  There most definitely was repentance.  But I think even the Apostle Paul had good people (though only a handful of them) to offer him perspective and to remind him that he is IN PROCESS no matter what stage of life and leadership that he may be in.  But most of all, I think it’s the Spirit of God Himself who reminds us of the amazingly faithful journey that we’ve been on and His assurance of the even more amazing journey that lay ahead as we remain faithfully steadfast in Him.  It is this reminder and assurance that will always help us to contend and to press on.  So contend… and press on. #desiringGod2017