A staggering amount of people never complete their spiritual metamorphosis. This is not due to a lack of trying, however, it’s due to pain. Growing pains! Growth does not come easy, nor is it simple. Pain is a requirement for true growth. We as humans do not and cannot grow without adversity. Along our journey, we will have to make sacrifices. Letting go of things we want is not easy and can cause friction within our minds, bodies, and spirits. However, we have to make sure that every aspect of our lives is pleasing and acceptable to God. It is here where people begin to feel the pain. The old man/woman wants to come back and prevent your growth. With that in mind, there is a question that needs to be asked. Will you grow through the pain or will you give up?
We try our best to avoid going back to our old ways. Sometimes we fail hard! You will feel those growing pains. The question is, how do we respond here? Will we give up and keep messing up and going back? Or will we lace up, and get ready for the next encounter? We can’t beat ourselves up about this. Yes, we should take it seriously! But, we cannot continuously beat ourselves up about it! That will not promote growth!
A lot of things will affect a person’s spiritual growth. The main culprit I have seen is when people do what they want, instead of following God’s will for their lives! It could be not going to Worship Service regularly. Maybe it’s being in a relationship that is unequally yoked. It could be allowing one’s pride to control their decisions instead of allowing God to lead the way. No matter what is stopping you, any time you put what you want to do first and what God needs you to do second, it will be devastating to your growth.
What I find helps me combat the old man is, forward-thinking. What I find helps me combat doing my will over God’s will is, my love and appreciation for Him! Thinking about these things when I want to partake in an old vice is very helpful! They push me past the pain. When I look into my future, I do not see a person struggling with the same things I struggle with today! I see a successful man who has conquered his demons! A man who continues to grow! The reason I can do that is that I look back at all the things I’ve conquered thanks to God! Thanks to hard work and dedication to growing in His name, I’m stronger! Thanks to God for being there for me when I wasn’t there for myself! I’m better than I used to be. Whether that is in large or small ways, it does not matter! The fact that there is growth is all that matters! Focus on that! Now looking forward I see myself doing even more than I do now! So, how can I get there?
That question drives me to be better when I’m weak! The thought of how people look at me. Not because I want to please them, but because I need to be a light that shines bright. The thought of me answering questions on judgment day! How will I stand before God then? As a soldier who fought hard on the battlefield of life! That is how! My love for God makes me better! My appreciation for Jesus and His sacrifice pushes me! God loves me, so I love Him enough to be the best I can be. Without His love, there is no me. This is what I do to stop from regressing to the old man! This is what I think about to stop stagnation!
Doing these things will cultivate growth. We all fall short every day. However, every shortcoming is just an opportunity to do better next time! Do not let the old man/woman win! When you fall, reflect on it. Look into your soul and see what went wrong! Repent! Grow! Do not give up! No matter how many times you fall, if you’re doing your best that is good! Trying and failing is better than giving up. Grow in His name! Grow past the pain. Before taking any action, think about it. How will this affect my future? How will this affect my family and friends? How will this affect my salvation? The things we do affect others around us! Grow, with forward-thinking! Grow, with love and appreciation for God! He never left you, do not leave Him!
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:25 NIV