Growing Pains

Jul. 17, 2023 | By Creflo Dollar

Growing and maturing as human beings is a lifelong process. The opposite of growth is stagnation, which is counterproductive on so many levels. Spiritually, developing the way we should sometimes means moving forward from a negative situation. This may be painful sometimes, but it’s always necessary.

The saying, “No pain, no gain” that we hear in the world actually has a biblical basis to it. Spiritual growth isn’t always comfortable, nor should it be. If we’re perfectly okay with the way things have always been, complacency could set in. However, while we’re growing into Christ’s image, the Holy Spirit can use something that causes us emotional pain to move us on. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world(1 Peter 1:6, 7, NLT).

There’s a reason why we go through situations; it’s to grow and strengthen us spiritually, and to increase our dependence on God. Without something difficult to challenge us, we would remain spiritually weak and immature. The process of maturing involves moving forward, never just standing still. Adversity grow us up in Christ. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11, NLT).

Suffering purifies our faith and burns out the impurities until we reach the point where we acknowledge that we can’t depend on ourselves, but only on God. This is the point where we become malleable enough for Him to start the process of changing us. This transformation is necessary because God may be preparing us for an assignment. Even Jesus had to be willing to move forward in order to be able to complete the mission God had for Him. “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:38, 39).   

Sometimes we need to start thinking differently if we want to get unstuck from our past. When Paul was teaching the church at Philippi, he emphasized the importance of right-thinking to promote spiritual growth. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). The world offers us plenty of unproductive philosophies and ways of thinking; we must choose those that line up with God’s Word.

The next time we run into trouble, we mustn’t try to avoid it. Relying on God to walk us through it allows Him to move us closer to where He wants us to be. Suffering may be a signal from Him that it’s time for the next phase of growth. Letting God guide our forward progress keeps us from getting stuck in our past.  

Growing Pains

By Creflo Dollar

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