But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain
Just thinking this afternoon how far God has brought me since I was a child of, say, about eight. As my loving parents grew, they taught us. Experiences and other people in my life have helped shape me into what I am today -- still not much to look at, but stirving to be more and more conformed to the image of His Son.
When I was 8: I had no concept of Christian service, beyond going to church.
Now: My greatest desire is to serve the Lord on the mission field some day, and serve Him HERE right now.
When I was 8: I had my very own New International Version Bible
Now: I understand why the King James Bible is God's perfect, preserved Word, and have no less than seven copies!
When I was 8: I hoped to someday play drums and electric guitar (you know, with all the boxes, pedals, wires, speakers, and stuff.)
Now: I desire to worship God with holy hymns, singing and playing cello. I hope to someday play my cornet in such a way that it does not curdle milk. :-)
When I was 8: I didn't have a clue how to tell someone about Christ.
Now: I witness to people at work nearly every day.
When I was 8: I didn't know the least thing about farming. (besides that milk came from a cow, and I helped pick up eggs a few times in a little chicken house.)
Now: I'm embarking on a whole new adventure starting my own small farm, having learned by living on one for over a year. Not that I know much still, but that's why I'm starting out small!
When I was 8: Sermons were a thing to be endured for half an hour after Sunday school.
Now: I enjoy hearing three hour-long messages from God's Word every Sunday, and one on Wednesday.
When I was 8: I went to church and saw little that differentiated its people from the world.
Now: I appreciate the families at our church dressing in modest apparel and showing discretion and propriety in conversation and interaction.
When I was 8: Instead of using the math facts drilled into me over and over, and over again by a patient homeschooling Mom, I would count addition and subtraction problems on my fingers under the table.
Now: I still do that!
So you see there is room for improvement still, and much more than mathematics, of course. Like the song Higher Ground suggests:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's table-land.
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on Higher Ground!