Spiritual growth is not easy. It requires more than reading books, singing songs, listening to sermons, and giving a few dollars. Spiritual growth is the result of following Jesus. We follow Jesus by applying God’s truth to our lives.
We can be certain that along this path of spiritual growth Satan, our great enemy, will throw many different obstacles along the way to trip us up. He throws out fear, and we hold ourselves back from going into the unknown with Jesus. Satan sits the trap of temptation and we miss out of the experiences God has planned for us as we pursue the pleasures of sin. He digs the hole of guilt and we fall in overwhelmed with the evil we have committed, and forgetting to rely on God’s grace and forgiveness.
The good news is that God even uses Satan’s obstacles as opportunities to make us better people. Just as Joseph told his brothers; "As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil" (Genesis 50:20; NLT), we can recognize the good that can come out of our failures. God is so powerful that He can even turn evil into good!
If we are going to become productive citizens of God’s Kingdom it is going to require us to apply the truth we have been taught. God’s Word does us no good if all we do with it is listen to it. Ultimately we have to start applying it to how we live our lives. What many of us Christ Followers need is not another book to read or class to attend, but to simply do the good we have already been taught. Spiritual maturity is the process that happens as we live by faith, regardless of the consequences that we may have to face.
What makes trusting God difficult, is when bad things come our way. We have this belief that if we are living the way God wants us to, if we have applied His truth to our lives, then our lives should be filled with God. How can we trust God when we allows such bad things to happen to us? It is during these times that we have to remember that God is able to turn our pains into something that is beneficial to us. Goal of God is not to make us happy, but to make us holy, and be holy experience the life He wants us to live.
In the passage quoted above James says that we should approach trials with joy, because we know God uses them to produce in us the character He desires to have. Because God loves us He will not waste our painful experiences, our failures, or our troubles. He will use them to make us stronger, and in many cases, He will use them for the benefit of others as well.
When trials, troubles, and failures come our way shouldn’t get discouraged and wonder where God is in the tragedies of life. Rather we should respond with trust, knowing that even through the most horrible of circumstances God can bring about His will and create us to be a little more like Jesus.
- Point to Ponder: God uses even the bad in our lives to make us more like Jesus.
- Questions to Consider: How has God used your pain in the past to develop your character? Why do you think we question God when hardships come our way?
- Prayer to Pray: Lord, thank You for loving me and caring about the type of life I live. Give me eyes to see You at work in the world around me, and a heart of hope so that I will hold on when the storms of life come my way...