Are You Ready To Grow, Spiritually?
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish things behind me.”
1 Corinthians 13:11
I used to be a pretty pathetic Christian. Like a baby, I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted it now! During that stage of my journey in coming to know Christ deeper, God allowed my tantrums and He gave me what I wanted quite often. Then came the growing up part.
He wasn’t going let me stay in diapers any longer.
Let me back up a step here and say something: Being a bratty Christian doesn’t make you any less of a Christian. Being a Christian is not a verb, it’s a noun. You are a Christian. That is, if you’ve accepted Christ’s forgiveness.
Just like a crispy new $100 bill is worth $100 when it leaves the mint, it will always be worth $100. No matter how many sweaty pockets it gets shoved into, severely crinkled it gets, or dirty hands it exchanges–its value is always $100 US dollars. Your value in Christ stays the same from day one of your belief! It is instantaneous and eternal!
**Side note**Love however is a verb–not a noun. It’s something that you do! It’s action! Love is not simply a feeling.
But anyway, back to me being a “little baby believer” even as a grown man. Why did God allow these fits? Why did He protect me so often while I did so much dumb stuff? Why did He place angels around me during my excuse-filled, blatantly sinful life? Simple. Because He was giving me time to grow.
He wants to do the same for you!
God knew all along that the really hard stuff was coming; and like a kindergartner who still gets to take naps in class, I too, was about to get a rude awakening as I graduated up to the first grade, then second, third, middle school, so on and so forth, until I was finding myself studying for my Master’s Degree of Grace.
I was growing, spiritually.
What I didn’t understand in the beginning was when I asked God certain questions, such as, “Will you use me? I want to reach millions of people for you,” or if I made statements to Him like, “God, give me patience.” “God, make my ministry grow.” “God, show me how to love like you do.” “Lord, please teach me unconditional forgiveness.” “Show me how to control my temper.” “Help me understand you on the deepest level possible.” “Show me how to love the religious Christians, and church people.”—WHEN I said such things, God perked up.
Like a dad who just got asked to go play catch in the back yard by his son, He was about to give me the opportunities to achieve new growth…new skills…
By requesting such maturity, God was sending a hurricane of trials my way in order to work me out, and make me stronger. Nowadays, I’m careful about what I ask for. So let me ask, do you want to become strong in a certain area of your life? More skilled? Well…prepare yourself, because if you do, God will sign you up for a marathon of that particular thing. Jesus had to do the same, before He fulfilled His personal ministry, so we are in good company! (See Matthew 4).
James, the half-brother of Jesus, actually said that we should be JOYFUL when we face tough times. Joyful? WHAT?! Oh yeah! Here is what he wrote:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
And do you see why we should be joyful during trials? It is so that we can become MATURE, COMPLETE, AND NOT LACKING ANYTHING!
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a person of lack! It’s just not in me! So like James said, we are to “not lack anything,” I want the best, I want to be the best, and I expect the best from others! And we get rid of lack by growing in the maturity process of allowing Christ to live through us! C’MON SOMEBODY! WE GOTTA WANT TO GROW! I want it! Don’t you?!
Don’t you want these trials?! Don’t you want these tests?! Don’t you want to become strong in your faith?! Don’t you want to let Jesus live through you?
YES! WE WANT IT!
Don’t you want the best from yourself? Don’t you want God to be proud of your attitudes and actions? Don’t you want to become mature, complete, and not lacking anything? Sure you do. If the Holy Spirit resides in you, He does, even when you don’t–and He carries you through those times.
So, we grow, spiritually. How? We look forward to new tests! We look forward to new opportunities to strengthen our faith! WE LOOK FORWARD TO BECOMING STRONGER IN CHRIST! We look forward to graduating from being babes.
So today, my friends, please do this: Ask God to make you grow. Don’t be afraid, just ask Him. You were meant to grow, not just physically, but also spiritually. Just like God didn’t plan on you being in your mom’s belly forever, or eating Cheerios out of your little cuppie–He doesn’t plan on you sitting still or complacent in your relationship with Christ either. Ask for growth today, and then prepare yourself…BECAUSE YOU WILL GROW, little by little, day by day, He promises!
A prayer for you: God, today I want to thank you for the extreme trials you’ve sent my way. While going through them, it hurt, VERY BADLY. But you’ve always brought me through at just the right time. Each trial has made me grow up and become stronger in Christ! So thank you! Thank you for teaching me to trust you and not blame you. Thank you for teaching me to not question you during my seasons of extreme trials, just like I don’t question you during my seasons of extreme blessings. Right now, I lift up all these dear readers directly to you–STRENGTHEN THEM! So many of them are in the midst of difficult trials and tests, give them that extra BOOST they need to develop a new confidence in your ways! If I can do it through Christ, anyone can do it! HELP THEM TO GROW IN YOU! CHANGE THEIR ENTIRE LIVES! MAKE THEM STRONG! MAKE THEM ENTHUSIASTIC! HELP THEM DO GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS THROUGH YOU! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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