You’ve probably realised this already.
When you’re a child, there are times when you grow so quickly in such a short space of time that your body actually aches from the huge changes it is going through.
These growth spurts may be quick but, then again, they may last for quite a long time; as you stretch into someone almost unrecognisable to those who haven’t seen you for a while.
As you outgrow your clothes, it’s time for yet another pair of shoes. And, now, you have to duck through that low doorway that never previously caused you a problem… otherwise it really WILL hurt!
Even when our height ceases to increase, we can still choose to grow our muscles just simply because we want to. But, muscles don’t grow until you first rip the muscle fibres that are there.
When they reform, they can take the shape of bigger, stronger and more effective muscles… if you go through the pain of pushing them (and pulling them) for long enough. The fatigue, the burning pain as you go through an intense workout, the aches and pains that continue even after you stop. The delayed soreness that comes on just as you thought the pain was subsiding… is it all really worth it?
Well, it all depends if you want to grow or not.
As they say: no pain, no gain.
And, they’re right, not only about physical growth but also when it comes to spiritual growth.
1 Timothy 4 v 8 says ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’
To get the benefits we should be striving towards it takes effort, training, and often hard work.
That training can be painful as we seek to grow in wisdom, holiness, humility and all the other wonderful aspects of godliness.
To grow more like Christ isn’t easy but, then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.
The principles for spiritual growth are exactly the same as when we grow as a child or when we want to grow our muscles.
Let me show you what I mean…
As you go through life, there are times when you grow so quickly in such a short space of time that it can easily be described as painful.
We go through tough times and face challenges that push us out our comfort zone; that strip away things we wanted to keep in our lives, that stretch us to our limits and sometimes even further, and that call us become more than we previously were.
This can really, really hurt.
As God shapes our character through the perseverance that comes when we are presented with trials and don’t give up, we grow into the person He designed us to be.
We may not always choose to grow, just a child has no say in the growth spurts that they face, but there will be times that God wants us to grow anyway because He knows it’s the best thing for us.
It may hurt and we may wonder why we have to endure pain (especially that which we would have chosen to avoid), but when we look back on who we were and compare to whom we’ve become, the temporary pain is worth it for the permanent result.
These spiritual growth spurts may be quick but, then again, they may last for quite a long time.
God knows how long we need to face certain things to become who He has designed us to be and it will be different for every person. But, our growth may change us considerably to those who know us and those who used to know us, in what can feel like a previous life. One that is almost unrecognisable, thanks to God.
As you outgrow many of the things that seemed to fit you and your life so well, it’s time to put them aside and step into the things God knows will suit you better.
It’s not easy, but letting go of what doesn’t fit you anymore let’s you pick up new things that are perfectly designed for you and you alone.
If we don’t adapt to our new way of living, and try and fit back into the old things that are now too small for us, then we just have even more pain to face… needless pain of our own choosing, this time!
Part Two Coming Soon.