JC Ryle says, “It costs something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a person in an arm-chair and taking them easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it cost much to win the victory.”
For every believer who wakes up each morning with a heart and mind that desires to please God, this quote will be deeply understood. You realize that there is no perfect scenario, no smooth sailing; the road that leads to a desired outcome is never straight. Every day has its ups and downs. Are you like me and you wish God would make your day as easy as sitting in an arm chair?
Why does God put His children through such rigorous growing pains?
It’s for growth, that’s why. God calls you and I to come to His Son. When we do, we come dirty, disheveled, and deeply selfish. Sin has wreaked havoc within our hearts. So much so that we cannot stand in God’s presence. But when we come broken and repentant, Jesus makes us clean and whole by His blood. Sin loses its power, and the Holy Spirit moves in. Life is about the Kingdom of God now and Jesus needs to take you and I on a journey where conversion must take place. We must remove our selfish ways and be sanctified into the likeness of our Lord and Savior.
God’s growing pains are His transformation process in getting you ready for eternity with Him.
What does the Bible have to say about this painful growing season that every believer will go through?
Galatians 2:20 says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
2 Timothy 2:21 ESV says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house (which is Jesus), ready for every good work.”
These are a just a few truths to chew on and have the Holy Spirit work within you as He transforms you for eternal living one day. What else does the Bible have to say? For every believer, your life on this side of heaven is to help God get the message of salvation out to those who are still dirty, disheveled and selfish. God wants every person to choose His Son and follow Him home.
While the road ahead may appear daunting, uncertain, fearful perhaps, know that God is helping you to become more like His Son. Tired of closed doors or stagnant waters as you wait for God to move you forward, know that God has not left you. Even when you can’t see His hand, He is there.
God never leaves you nor stops fighting for you!
You and I carry around the wrong kind of baggage. We have the world and its ways attached to us. God must remove worldly ways (and thinking) so Jesus can become who we are. John replied in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” God disrupts our sinful lives and helps us to become His holy, sanctified, set apart children that love Jesus and the Kingdom more.
So, don’t fight God’s process within you. Something greater will evolve from all the pain and suffering of relinquishing control over to the Sovereign God who loves you.