John Owen on the Believer's Growth and Sanctification.
He writes, just as ‘the growth of plants is not by a constant insensible progress . . . but . . . by sudden gusts and motions . . .’, so ‘the growth of believers consists principally in some intense vigorous actings of grace on great occasions". It has pleased the Lord not to give us steady, uninterrupted growth in grace; rather, he is pleased to have us cry to him, wait on him, seek his face, often in the midst of trials, before he grants us to grow in likeness to the Saviour – if nothing else, to humble us, and keep us dependent on him. If our Lord Jesus is the proto-typical man of faith, and he is, then the pattern of his life will be the essential pattern of our lives. What the Spirit first produced in him he comes to re-produce in us. And what was the pattern of the Saviour’s earthly life? Was it even and untroubled? No. He was brought by his Father through dark valleys, where, the writer to the Hebrews tells us, he ‘learned obedience through what he suffered’ (Heb. 5:8).