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"Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature." Ephesians 2:1-3a (NLT) Life in Jesus can be exciting and action-packed and at other times it seems slow and even idle. Those times of seeming inactivity in our spiritual growth can leave us feeling defeated. The Apostle Paul shows us the remedy for moments of feeling down and deflated - look back. Paul told the people in the church at Ephesus to look back at their dead lives before they knew Jesus. Dead things don't respond to stimuli, and like the Ephesians, there was a time in our lives when we didn't respond to Jesus. We were dead to Him, and He was dead to us. That all changed when we recognized our sinful and broken condition and turned from our own way of life to Jesus' Way. Once we were enslaved by the enemy of our souls and by our own wrong desires, but then Jesus rescued us, and we came to life. Just because we are alive in Jesus now, doesn't mean our spiritual growth will be quick and steady. Often our growth is slow and choppy. But if we would look back at who and where we were before we encountered Jesus, I believe we would be encouraged by how far we have come. Next time you think you aren't making any spiritual progress in your walk with Jesus, look back. Look back to who you were and who you are now in Jesus. Look back to where you were and where you are now in Jesus. Do you believe the same way, Do you behave the same way, and Do you hang with the same people? If you have followed Jesus for any length of time, I'm sure the answers to those questions are "No." Good, be encouraged, you are not the same; and you won't be the same tomorrow when you look back at who you are today. Here's the Truth: "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6 (NLT). Jesus has promised always to be working in us to mold us to His image. He will never quit, and we shouldn't either. Prayer Jesus, help me to have patience with my spiritual growth, knowing that you have promised to never give up on me. Help me not to give up on myself. Help me to never quit trusting in You and Your constant work in me. Amen

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