Skip to main content

Growing is Tough

I don’t know about you, but I wish growth wasn’t so painful. Why couldn’t it be like gaining weight? That is relatively easy and most of the time enjoyable, and in a way it is growth. If I wanted to gain weight all I would have to do is eat a lot of the food that I enjoy. It is no secret that I love fast food hamburgers and French fries. Those things are great. Imagine the pounds I could pack on by eating a steady diet of that stuff.

Growth, especially when it involves our faith, is not so easy. I will not grow by a steady diet of doctrine and Bible teaching. What?! I know I almost feel like a heretic writing it, but it is true. We do not grow by knowledge alone. Knowledge is useful because it is the foundation for out lives, but it is how we apply that knowledge to our lives that really matter. That is what produces growth.

James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing (James 1:2-4; NLT).


James tells us that growth happens through our experiences in life. It is when the rubber meets the road, when reality meets theory, that we really have a chance to grow into the people God wants us to be. The experience with the greatest potential for growth, according to James, is trial. When bad times hit and our dreams shatter how we respond will either benefit our development or will hold us back. During this dark times when we live as if God’s promises are true, even if they don’t seem real at the moment, will put us on the path of spiritual development.

What does this mean for you and me? It means we should spend far less time trying to set up a safe and secure life, because a truly safe and secure life is a myth, and spend more time engaging the evil of this world. If we are truly interested in growth we won’t find another Bible study to attend or another book to read, but we will live out what God has already told us to do, regardless of the consequences.

We are to have joy in the midst of trouble, not because we like pain, but because we know that preserving through it will make us a little more like Jesus. We will grow a little more mature and have a closer relationship with God. Those are reasons to be joyful.

Growing is hard. Change is hard. It will not happen simply by reading a book or attending Sunday morning worship. It requires difficult choices and hard times. It is by far easier to read a book, but the rewards are so much greater to display endurance through dark times. Growth is the result of coming through trials and tribulations with our faith intact.

Comments

This is one of my favorite pieces of direction EVER.

Healthy things grow.
Growing things change.
Changing things challenge us.
Challenge forces us to trust God.
Trust leads to obedience.
Obedience makes us healthy.
Healthy things grow.

--Pastor Mike Barrett, Ocean Hills Community Church, San Juan Capistrano, California
Paul said…
Growth is a continous process. There was a point in my life when I thought eventually I would be mature and I would have everything mastered, but the more mature I become the more growing I realize I have to do. There are times when I wish it wasn't so hard.

Popular posts from this blog

Prayer: Married Bedtime Prayer

My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine.  As much as I have enjoyed the prayer I thought it was time for a prayer that was better suited to pray together.  Hopefully this will encourage you to implement prayer into your bedtime routine.

Our Father in Heaven, we pause at the end of this day to say thank You.  We give You thanks for the blessing of life, for the blessing of each other, for the blessing of family, and for the blessing of a home. You have richly blessed our lives. Restore us Father to Your Son Jesus.  He is the vine and we are the branches and He has become our source of life.  Open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit's guidance, healing, and transformation.  May our lives and our marriage bear the fruit of the Spirit.  We surrender our lives and our marriage to You.  You have our bodies, possessions, and spirits; we give You our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  We belon…

God Uses Unlikely People

One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that God would rather use the common, even the despised, people of the world to make a difference in this world. Consider Moses. God doesn’t use Moses when he is a prince of Egypt, but when he is a nomadic shepherd. Certainly God has used the rich and the powerful, but more often than not God has used the poor, sinful, and abused. God uses the unlikeliest people.

This reality comes our loud and clear at Christmas time. Think about the major characters of the Christmas story: Joseph who is a poor and scandalize carpenter, Mary who is a young and scandalized girl, Shepherds who are a bunch of untrustworthy characters. Only the Magi have credibility in society, but this diminishes in Jewish culture since these men were Gentiles. The most important event in the history of the world and God chooses people who are rejected and wouldn’t be believed by so…

Worship is a Lifestyle

"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take 'church' to the world. But sharing with others is a sacrifice of worship that makes God smile." ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe

Worship isn't just about music. Worship isn't just an activity that is planned and programmed. Worship is about glorifying God with our lives. When we seek to honor God, we worship Him.

Worship happens anytime and anyplace. It happens Sunday mornings at church. It happens Wednesday night at Bible Study. It happens when we chat with our neighbor. It happens when we serve those in need. It happens when we show love to the lonely. Worship is what being a Christian is all about.

Worship is a life lived in response to God's gracious blessings. God has given us so much. We owe Him every breath we breathe. He is responsible for our talents we use. God has given us blessing after blessing. Only a life o…