We don’t always have a right understanding of something at the start.
Understanding is often acquired. It comes slowly . . . gradually . . . bit-by-bit.
As a bride-to-be, when I was first planning my wedding, I romanticized marriage. I didn’t fully understand what it would require. The same can be said when I was expecting our first child. I didn’t understand what mothering truly meant. Nor did I have a clear understanding of being in Christ. It has taken years of contemplative prayer, study, and fellowship for God to develop some understanding of His nature, character, and life in Him that I never had at first.
We live. We learn. We grow. In life . . . in relationships . . . and in discipleship.
God grants and forms spiritual understanding as part of the sanctifying process.
When I first gave my life to the Lord, I did not understand things like
the sufficiency of His grace;
His long-suffering patience and presence;
the nuanced complexities of our Lord’s teachings;
the necessity of the church to my sanctification;
the distinction of eternal matters;
that prayer is more about listening;
or even the true hideousness of my sin and desperate need of salvation.
What about God have you come to understand—cognitively and experientially?
Think about Peter! In those early, formative years of following Jesus, he proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, without understanding what the Christ would do in all actuality. And further denied the suffering required of Jesus.
“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed
and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside
and began to rebuke him.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.
“Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God,
but merely human concerns.”
Within the span of a few short verses, we quickly learn that Peter didn’t really get it right the first time either.
But the Lord was merciful toward him. Nurturing him. And as He did, Peter grew in faith and understanding.
Such is discipleship.
When a believer is first born into Christ, that new creation is but a babe. The maturing process spans the course of a lifetime—if cooperatively allowed within the heart and will of the believer. Maturing also requires an abiding in the Spirit—through Whom all understanding grows.
Given that understanding is an ongoing process, lends insight into the apostle Paul’s prayers for the church to grow in understanding and depth of insight (see Colossians 1:9 for one such prayer)—setting a precedent for all disciples to pray for continued growth in understanding, faith, and insight for one another.
So, don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you “don’t get it right.” Trust that God will add understanding to your faith as you seek Him. For the New Testament speaks at length about the transforming, equipping, maturing process of the saints—and where God has established His will and a plan, His provision surely follows.