When you feel like you're not growing
I long for spiritual maturity. I long for a better understanding of the Bible, a deeper trust in our Father’s promises, and a more Jesus-reflecting love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
The Bible talks about it all the time: ‘grow up in your spiritual salvation’ (1 Peter 2:2). ‘Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18).
Grow, grow, grow.
But sometimes I feel like I’m not growing. My stubborn sin still boomerangs back to me. And I get frustrated.
I’m reading the Bible, praying, going to church…why isn’t it all working?
It doesn’t work when I’m trying to earn my growth. Like salvation, growth isn’t something I can buy from God with sore prayerful knees or a Bible reading plan.
God isn’t a business partner you bargain with. He’s a father who gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11). And spiritual growth is one of those gifts.
Don’t hear me wrong: the grace-driven effort we put in has an essential part to play – it’s the means by which God has chosen to give us the gift of growth (Philippians 2:13).
Without those hours of abiding in Christ and obeying his commands, we can’t hope to grow.
But effort isn’t the currency we buy growth with – rather it’s the appropriate striving of a saved soul to please God (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
Because growth is a gift, God gets the glory, not us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Because it’s a gift we give thanks for our progress instead of boasting about it.
So, if it’s in God’s hands, how do we receive this gift?
By trusting that he’ll work through our tireless efforts, and humbly asking for it:
‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Matthew 7:11