In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. ESV Genesis 4:3-4
In the course of time… Time went on and Cain became the man he was and Abel became the man he was. Both brought respective offerings. God was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not with Cain’s offering. Cain refused God’s admonition and chose to kill Abel. Why did Cain turn out the way he did? Why did Abel offer an offering that pleased God? Apparently, they made choices along their life journeys that eventually led them to become the men they were…in the course of time.
Andy Stanley writes in The Principle of the Path, that the path we are on is designed to take us to the destination that it leads to. If we want to arrive at another destination, we have to choose a different path. Time doesn’t change things, it only advances us down the path we are currently on. Cain chose a path, and in the course of time, he arrived at that path’s destination. As did Abel. The question for our spiritual formation is what will the course of time bring about in our life? Naturally, each path has unknown curves, but each path generally reaches the destination advertised at the beginning. If you are headed down a self-centered path, don’t be surprised when you end up thinking only of yourself. If you choose to flirt with women, browse porn, and let your lusts wander, don’t be surprised when you reap a broken marriage. If you never read God’s Word, fail to invest financially in the kingdom, and only pray in times of crisis, you can expect your spiritual life to wither. Time doesn’t make things better, it only solidifies and confirms our current actions.
So what path are you on? What will happen in the course of time? It shouldn’t be a hard question to answer. Generally, you will become more of what you are now. Are you pleased with what you are now? Are you as close to the Lord as you want to be? Are you moving closer or further away. Time will most likely magnify your current track. Do you need to make some changes?