When I first joined the ministry, I did not see a real need to do certain things like studying and understanding the beliefs of the early church fathers. In fact, I did not take time to research some modern church leaders or historians but the more that I have grown into Christ, the more of a desire to do this that I have.

This is one more part of my sanctification process and one that I did not expect as I enjoy history but I never felt the urge or need to study Church history. However, the Spirit of God has made me want to know more about the Word of God and one way to learn more about it is what the early Church Fathers thought and had to say.

Every walk with God is different which is why living for God is so precious. Each journey is unique and we never know what is next and I say that not to say that everyone will desire what the Church Fathers had to say. Not everyone will and for a long time, I did not care. One lesson that I have learned over the last two years is that we should desire to grow regardless what it means so perhaps growing in God means getting out from your comfort zone.

Most of us do not like getting out of our comfort zone but in order to grow, this is often required. It was not long ago when I was in my comfort zone and did not do anything to challenge myself. The result of this was no growth as I was doing the same thing day in and day out. This may keep us nice and warm which is what a comfort zone does but it enables us to grow and if we begin work in God but never leave our comfort zone, we cannot continue to grow in Christ.

Philippians 1:6 reads “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”. If God begins it then He will finish it but many times, God will take us places that we never expected or thought about. Think about the story of Abraham. Look at what God had Abraham do with Isaac. Of course, reading this story we understand that God was only testing Abraham and for different reasons as He was not going to have him go through with the sacrifice.

However, this does teach us an important lesson: never doubt that God is working on you when you are going through some of the darkest moments of your life. As I look back over my past, I am able to see that it was God that was working on me during these dark moments. There were many moments that left me wondering what was going on but now, I am able to see that sometimes before you can move forward, you have to grow. Sometimes, before you are able to grow, you must take a step backwards and I understand if this sounds backward but its reality.

The only way I was able to learn about this was not because I read about it (and I did) but like with anything else, I had to learn it myself. It’s significant to allow God to work in us even when it makes no sense. Personally, I wouldn’t change anything about the path that I have taken because if I changed anything then I’m not guaranteed to have what I currently have. If the butterfly effect is real-if you smack a butterfly in the past it somehow alters the future-so if I changed anything then what I have currently would not be a reality so I would leave things the way they are.

Scripture tells us different times not to worry about the past or fret the future. Honestly, we cannot change the change and there’s very little we can do about the future. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow but we can be better prepared for tomorrow by what we do today. We should learn from what we did yesterday to help us with tomorrow and to live for today which God has helped me learn. Many of the lessons that I write about did not come because I was willing but rather, because God is merciful and for that, we all should be thankful: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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Time: A Priority


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