In my last post, I wrote about how we need to grow up in Christ. And, there is definitely more to say on this subject, so here I am, writing more about it!
When you were a kid, do you remember having pains in your legs? I sure do! I have a high tolerance for pain, but I clearly remember my legs hurting so much sometimes as a kid, that I would be in tears over it. I would tell my parents that my legs hurt and they would tell me it was just growing pains. And, that basically meant that there wasn’t anything they could do. (And, there wasn’t.) It was just something I had to deal with. In my head I could picture myself getting taller, and because I wanted to be taller, I was ok with the pain. I realized that that was just a part of life. (Looking back, that is a pretty great lesson to learn early on in life.)
And, in much the same way, we will experience growing pains as we grow in our spiritual lives as well. Because, let’s face it, to grow means to change. And, change is hard, ergo growing is hard. In the Bible we learn in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” When we believe in God and give our lives over to Him, we become a new person, a new creation. We change. We are no longer the old person we used to be.
But, I must point out something very important. Just because we are a new person, it doesn’t mean we are instantaneously changed. Well, ok, it does--but it doesn’t mean that we magically become a new person all at once. At least, not in terms of how we think and act. As the old saying goes, “old habits die hard” and it will take us a while to break these old habits. The fact is, it just takes time and intentional pursuit; discipline.
When we become saved, it really just means we are at the beginning of our journey. A seed has been planted inside of us; one that changes our way of thinking and enlightens us. But, it is up to us to care for that seed, feed it, water it, and nurture it, in order for it to grow. And, just like a tomato seed we plant in our garden, we can’t expect to plant the seed and then five minutes later have a full-grown tomato that we can eat. It will take some time before we start to see that tomato grow. The same is true for the growth in our spiritual lives.
Note, however, that we are the ones responsible for our own growth. It is up to each of us to spur our growth and start reaching upwards. (It is up to us to grow up.) This seed of God that we have within us has the potential to produce amazing fruit. It is the fruit of the spirit and it is the fruit by which others can see Jesus through us. (See Matthew 7:15-20) But, bearing this “good” fruit is not easy. Growth is involved, change is involved, pain is involved.
To reach our full potential and be the people God wants us to be, we must change our outlook and the way we think and the way we do things. We need to see life and other people through the eyes of God, not our own. We need to live our lives as Christ would; including seeing and treating others as Christ would see and treat them.
This is awfully hard stuff, especially when you realize that you need to do things like love your enemies. (See Luke 6:27-32) Because, as the Bible rightly points out, it is easy to love people who love you. It is extremely difficult to love those who hate you or who treat you badly.
So, if we want to grow in Christ and grow to be more like Christ, we have to start doing things that are hard, things that are painful. As Needtobreathe tells us in their song Hard Love, “It’s not enough to just feel the flame. You’ve gotta burn your old self away.” We have to become a new person in Christ. We have to be disciplined and embrace the pain that comes along with this change.
I truly believe that, as Christians, this is the best course to take in our lives. This is the narrow road. This is the narrow road that leads to life! Don’t you want life? I know I do. As Matthew 7:13-14 tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.