Spiritual growth, growing into the perfect man Christ Jesus, is the main point of life after conversion.
Most profound and lasting growth only happens one way: through suffering.
Some play around with Christianity until it gets hard. The sun comes out and dries them up.
Others find a pseudo-Christianity that promises them health and wealth. But this only works for those who like their head in the sand. Life just doesn’t work that way.
The temptation of believers who want to grow, is to force growth in an unnatural way.
We get impatient. We approach spiritual growth like any other subject–give me the syllabus and let me get to work!
Others who fear work, either because it’s hard or because they were taught that spiritual work is bad, sit back and do nothing.
Spiritual growth does require work on our part. You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it.
But the work isn’t what causes the majority of the growth. Pain, suffering, and tribulation cause most growth.
All the work you do in learning the Bible, learning self-denial and discipline, all you do to focus on Christ, is merely preparation for when the pain comes.
Pain reveals whether or not you’ve done the homework.
Tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. Bible study wasn’t in this process. Bible study doesn’t create growth.
Tribulation is the test. The final exam. Bible study was the homework.
There are many who assume that since they know the Bible, they are mature. But this isn’t necessarily so.
What you do with suffering and pain reveals your maturity level. Tribulation will reveal whether you know a book, or whether you know the Author.
Welcome pain. Pain is your friend. Pain is helping you grow into Christ.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.