Our upcoming theme for the September Today devotions is about growing more spiritually mature. Written by Rev. Keith Mannes, this month is an unusually personal story we’re calling “Becoming More Holy: The Story of Ron.”
In my own life, these past several months have challenged me as I’ve experienced some pretty major eye surgeries. Just as I thought things were getting better in one eye, the same issue developed in the other. “One step forward and two steps back” seemed to be my motto. Through all my recovery, my wife Deb hung in there with me. She chauffeured me to countless doctor’s appointments, administered an unbelievable number of eye drops (at all hours of the day and night), and generally was my rock and support during these difficult times. She helped keep me marching even when we had to step back to move forward.
This brings me to Ron and the topic of sanctification. A heavy theological term, sanctification simply means a process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ—becoming more holy. The Holy Spirit is at work in each of us, shaping us, growing us, sometimes pushing us to grow more spiritually mature, and sometimes through tough circumstances.
This month, Pastor Keith tells us the story of his friend Ron, a member of his small church many years ago. Ron was a Christian, and he was learning how to live and act out his Christian life. He walked with Pastor Keith and his new church friends as the Holy Spirit carried them through life’s struggles. They spent many hours together, and Ron’s Christian walk sometimes felt like “one step forward and two steps back,” but over time the fruit of God’s Spirit became clearer in Ron’s life.
The format of this month’s Today readings are a bit different—the whole month is a continual story of Ron, Pastor Keith, and their friends. In many ways, it is also your story—and mine. How do we walk through the challenges of life as we seek to become more like Christ? How do we navigate the “one step forward and two steps back” challenges in our life? How is the Spirit walking with you, shaping you, and helping you to bear fruit?
I pray that these Today readings will help you to reflect on your story—your journey through life as you walk with Christ by the Spirit.
If you want to hear more of Pastor Keith’s thoughts as he wrote these devotions, please listen or read this interview:
May you be refreshed, refocused, and renewed in God’s Word!
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