Growth by Choice
Even when God isn’t stretching us through the things we face we can still choose to grow our spiritual muscles, simply because we want to.
God loves it when His children are so passionate to please Him that they opt for growth by choice.
Choosing to build good disciplines into our lives, sacrificing our time, energy, and effort for Him, voluntarily seeking after God and a deepening of our relationship with Him, all these things are great and build us up in the Lord.
But, they can hurt, too.
Spiritual muscles don’t grow until you first make room for them to grow.
The schedule of our lives often needs ripping up so we can put it back together again with more healthy, Godly, and edifying things in it.
That will lead to growth.
When we do this, God can shape us through what we choose to do as our spiritual strength gets bigger, our faith gets stronger, and we become more effective at pleasing Him and seeing His Kingdom extended around us.
But, we need to go through the pain of not pandering to our selfish desires and looking instead to what God has for us to do, for long enough.
The fatigue, the burning pain as you go through an intense time of giving things up, changing your thinking or dealing with deep rooted issues that God wants to resolve, the aches and pains of temptation to go back to what you were (which continue even after you’ve had a time of great growth and you think it’ll all be plain sailing now), the delayed temptations that suddenly pop up even a long time after you thought the pull backwards had subsided and gone…
is it all really worth it?
Well, it all depends if you want to grow or not.
As they say: no pain, no gain.
All the Gains
The gain of reaping the benefits from spiritual growth are fantastically and amazingly worthwhile, each and every time!
Spiritual growth opens up opportunities you never thought possible because, now, you’re ready to deal with them.
You’re ready to go places, meet people, say things, stand firm, take part, make a difference and just generally live for God in way that would have been completely overwhelming had you even imagined it when you were less mature in your faith.
The satisfaction of fulfilling your potential, of fully becoming the person you were intended to be and then carrying out the job designed for you, is another incredible benefit of growth.
And, finally, spiritual growth pleases our Heavenly Father more than we will ever know.
When we see our children growing up, learning new things, developing, changing, moving onwards and upwards, we are filled with an indescribable joy on their behalf.
This is a perfect picture of God as His pleasure at our success is built into us with our own children, to give us a glimpse of how He feels with us.
And when one of our own purposely wants to grow and do well just to please us, how much more joy does that bring to our hearts? How much honour to us, as parents?
Therefore, how much more pleasure and honour is brought to God when we choose to grow into what He knows is best for us.
His children, whom He loves very much.
Next time you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to be, just remember there is potential for growth in that.
It may be exactly what God wants to bring out of it, for you.
And if you choose to face the pain of voluntary growth you will reap even greater benefits, as that pain is turned to everlasting, effective and extremely powerful gain.
All for the glory of God!
No Pain, No Gain
The reality quite simply is ‘no pain, no gain.’
We may want the gain without the pain, but as gain comes out of pain, it’s a necessary process that we need to go through in many ways and at many times in our lives… and it’s always worth it!
Whatever you’re facing right now, or whatever you’re going to face in the future, keep going and don’t give up, hard as it can be!
It’s easier said than done, of course, but we should never stop pressing on towards the goal God has for us.
If we could see now the benefits our trials will lead us to, we’d know it would all be worth it, for sure.
Why don’t we, then?
Why doesn’t God show us that as motivation to carry on?
Because, to know the benefits also involves knowing so much more; enough to overwhelm us completely, as we’re not ready for it.
We have to, therefore, just trust that God knows what He is doing.
That He always brings good out of bad and that He always has plans to prosper us and not to harm us; plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29 v 11.)
Knowing these things means we can be certain that our pain is worth the gain, even if we are intensely feeling every aspect of the pain and not seeing every fine detail of the gain… yet!
We know God will never let us down and we have faith in what He has in store for us because we know that God is faithful, always and forever.
Growth hurts, but it’s worth it.
You’ve probably realised this already. And, if not, I pray that when you need it, you’ll have the strength to keep going and the peace that comes from knowing that God can be trusted when He says ‘it’s worth it!’
You can do it, because it’s always worth it.
If you’ve not realised this yet, I’m quite sure you won’t have long before you face a trial that makes you grow, or you leave the one you’re currently facing.
After that, you can enjoy the results of the growth God intends for you through this trial.
And remember… it’s good to want to grow, it’s very good to want to achieve much for God, and it’s great to understand that if you want to experience growing gains, you must experience growing pains!