Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spiritual Growth Over the Long Haul

(Background passage: II Timothy 4:1-7)

6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  -II Timothy 4:6, 7 (KJV)

I know a man who is a great mechanic.  The best part of this relationship is he is honest and will work on my car in a fair and reasonable manner.  I have little doubt he could take an engine apart and put it back together again right before your eyes.  Yes, he is a regular Goober Pyle (My Andy Griffith Show friends will understand).  Understand, however, that my friend did not acquire his skill at mechanics overnight.  His is a skill honed and perfected over many years of trial, error, and hands-on experience.  Gaining such knowledge and ability will only come with committed effort and dedication.

 The same can be said of the Christian life and spiritual growth.  The Word of God reminds us of how Christianity is a lifelong experience meant to be lived over the long haul.  We can’t rush spiritual growth any more than we can rush personal growth.  It happens over time and can be a painful process.  I have to experience disappointments to better appreciate the victories.  I have to go through some tough times to better appreciate the better times. Consider the following statements in regards to Christ's power in turning adversity into spiritual and personal growth.  Through faith in Christ our:

-trials strengthen our spiritual muscles.
-problems bring about a greater awareness of God’s presence.
-heartaches lead us to a deeper understanding of God’s power.
-failures bring us to a greater realization of God’s grace.
-misfortunes have a way of producing blessings in our lives.

The problem comes when we get impatient in the process. We have a way of sometimes asking God the same things kids ask their parents on a long trip; “Are we there yet?”  We are not there yet.  We will be one day, yet it’s going to take time.  We are called to look to the Lord in faith.  We are not to be ruled by doubt, fear, or desperation.   Jesus is the light and we are called to shine Jesus all around us.  Keep the light burning and let it shine brightly.  The light shines brightest when the fire is stoked.  Our trials and trusting God through them have a way of stoking the fires of the Holy Spirit in us. 

Trust the Lord today and wait upon Him.

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