What Paul was feeling was the power of his flesh in his embryonic Christian walk while the Holy Spirit, the grain of mustard seed, was just beginning to grow in his life. But that tiny seed would grow every bigger bit-by-bit through God’s training program which He applies to all Christians, the process of sanctification. Of course, not all Christians proceed through the lessons at the same rate. There are many variables that stunt or delay Christian growth, such as pride, fear, unwillingness to relinquish control to God, obsessive, secret sin and/or desires, unwillingness to let go of something cherished in life (perhaps a dream, a possession, or even a person), or even anger and bitterness that we are not willing to let go of. I’m sure there are many more such obstacles that we put up within ourselves, resisting the work of God. But God is tireless, patient, and persistent. He does not give up on us and never will, no matter how hard of a nut we are to crack. Every Christian is different, and we all mature in different areas of our lives at different rates than others, but one thing is for sure, the pit-bull persistence of God in training and teaching us is a relentless, unyielding, and unstoppable force. As He promises in scripture, He WILL complete the work that He has begun in each of us (Philippians 1:6).
I take no pride in my walk with God. All the glory goes to Him. All the work and power to change me into the man I am is due to His miraculous intervention in my life. But I believe that Paul, like me, probably experienced a steady growth of God’s Spirit within him over the years which gradually and eventually overpowered the weak flesh. But he would have had to do as I did, yielding to God in all manner of training, teaching, and serving situations, and spending constant time in fellowship and meditation on His word. God builds up His Spirit within us bit by bit in countless small situations, decisions, services, etc. that follow His footsteps on the path of love. All these tiny things build up over a lifetime to solidify the character of our hearts and to determine how much work God will be able to do within our hearts, minds, and spirits.
More on this tomorrow. May you walk in the sweet joy of His love this day and may His perfect peace fill your heart.