As a child growing up in church we sang a hymn called "Take Time to Be Holy". It was written by William Longstaff in 1882 and he was inspired by a sermon that he had heard based on 1 Peter 1:16. Let's look at the lyrics:
Take Time to Be Holy
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Look at the first line of each of the verses:
1. Take time to be holy, speak of with thy Lord.
2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on.
3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide.
4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul.
The author was inspired to repeat the phrase "Take time to be holy" in each and every verse.
I like that repetition. It reminds me that we cannot put our faith in a microwave and expect it to be ready in a few minutes. It takes time to develop a deep relationship with God. Just as it takes time to develop deep relationships with other people.
In Hannah Whitall Smith's book "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" when speaking of spiritual maturity she says "we cannot hope to reach this maturity in any other way than by yielding ourselves up utterly and willingly to His mighty working." And Ann Voskamp says “moving too fast creates a spiritually slow heart. Slow the mind down. Focus. And the spiritual heart will race with joy and thanksgiving".
How I long to have a spiritual heart that joyfully races with gratitude. I need to slow down. I need to yield myself to His fine tuning. We all need to slow down and tune in to Him.
I keep thinking about our spiritual lives being a marathon and not a sprint. It's not about how fast we can go it's about enduring through the entire course. These words of another childhood hymn come to mind "the race is not given to the swift, the race is not given to the strong, but it's given to the one who keeps pressing on". Let us all press on toward spiritual maturity and trade our desire to have it all right now for the tenacity to endure the process of growth. All it takes is slowing down and allowing transformation to happen one day at a time.