Pastor’s Corner: “Growing Pains

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) – “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

Most of us have experienced some level of growing pains when we were younger. But those who are taller (or “closer to heaven” as some jokingly say) know these growing pains all too well. Our oldest daughter Madison was born tall (literally 22 inches long) and she suffered from growing pains throughout most of her childhood and teen years. On and off she spent nights with cramping and twitching and discomfort as she tried to rest. While the pain level wasn’t unbearable, it surely wasn’t pleasant. Regardless, Madison (and all of us) needed to grow physically and “growing pains” are a necessary part of the process to reach our full potential. 

It is the same in our “Spiritual Growth Process.” The spiritual application of “Growing Pains” is entirely accurate. It hurts to grow. We will experience discomfort, distress and pain as we grow in our walk with Jesus Christ. But this must take place in order for us to reach our full potential. Romans 5:4-5: “We know that suffering {resistance} produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” 

Sometimes God uses resistance, pain, and patience, to produce perseverance. In the development process, God does not waste our pain. God uses resistance to groom us, train us, and reveal His GLORY. There is rarely a path of least resistance in the Kingdom. The ache and discomfort of pain can be unbearable, but it is necessary and always beneficial. God created us, not to stay stagnant, but to always be growing in him and becoming more like Jesus. It’s not easy, and we can certainly stunt it.Failure to thrive” is a term used to describe an underlying condition causing physical growth delay. This can also happen in our spiritual walk. We often look for the path of least resistance, avoiding pain and suffering at any cost and in the process we stunt our spiritual growth……… and the result is we “Fail to Thrive” as Christians. The easy road does not bring us to a place of Spiritual Growth, rather it will keep us stagnant and stunted. Jesus certainly did not choose the easy road and neither should we

It hurts to grow because we have to die to old ways in order to live anew, and old ways die hard. We place a high premium in life on dying peacefully, but in reality dying almost always is accompanied by pain. We have dependencies with coping mechanisms that have enslaved us. It’s hard letting go of our security blankets. 

It hurts to grow because growing usually means facing into some fear or weakness that has limited us. Though God saves us through no effort of our own, he asks for our cooperation when it comes to our spiritual growth. Real spiritual growth only happens when our effort to act upon God’s word meets the provision of the Holy Spirit in us. Or as Paul teaches, “Put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT). 

This is always the spiritual principle of growth. We obey by stepping into our weakness or our fear, trusting in the fact that because it is something He asks of us, He will meet us somewhere along the way with the power to do it. This is almost always a painful proposition because it requires a step into the unknown. What if God doesn’t show up? I suppose we can ask that question, but we will never get the answer on this side of the risk. We have to take the step, believing that there is something there that we can’t see. And if that doesn’t hurt, it’s probably not faith. 

In His Grace, 

Pastor Hamilton 

Questions to ponder: In what area of your life do you need to grow the most? How are you responding to God urging you to grow?