When we place our trust in God, we turn in our old lives for a new one, and we often want and expect immediate and complete change, but God doesn’t promise us that. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that this new life will be in full working order immediately. Like that new joint, it takes time, perseverance, and people to help us leave the pulls of our old life and desires and venture forth in this new one.
And we are not alone. Paul (sometimes considered the greatest apostle) after his conversion spent time with Ananias, and some scholars believe he stayed almost a year with the disciples in Damascus. Barnabas also had a part in Paul’s Christian growth when Paul came to Jerusalem. And then there were anywhere from ten to fourteen years between his conversion and his first missionary journey.
We later see Barnabas take John Mark under his wing, while Paul mentors Timothy.
The Bible is rich with verses that remind us to encourage and teach each other, such as these two: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
So we should never let our past hold us back nor be discouraged when we stumble in our walk. Rather we should take the attitude of Paul when he writes to the Philippians, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14).
Or as the Salvation Army used to exhort fellow Christians in the early 1900s––Keep on keeping on!