Psalm 37:25

"I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread."

Good morning and praise the Lord!

Have you ever reminisced over your life and reflected upon a time or even a particular circumstance that caused you pain; either physical or emotional hurt? But now after time has passed and you're out of that turmoil, you recognize how it has helped make you a better person. And although it was painful when it occurred, it reaped good results. That happens often in our Christian walk. Whenever we experience pain when obeying God,that means we are growing!! When we choose to do it God's way, many times that will bring hardship and conflict - not just with others, but more often within ourselves. To illustrate this point, notice when our physical bodies go through growth spurts, we often experience pain in our joints and muscles. We feel awkward sometimes and unbalanced. So too when we are growing in God! We experience the pain of letting go of the "carnal man" and his lusts; the awkwardness of letting go of our natural desires, wants and needs, as we "yield" our wills to the leading of the Holy Spirit and learn how to let go and follow Him!

Hebrews 12:11 says it this way:

"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Yes the "growing pains" we experience in our spiritual journey with God, is actually "training" taking place, teaching us how to live above the wants and desires of our flesh - which are natural and automatic to us, and how to "crucify" our flesh for Christ! The apostle Paul said it this way:

Galatians 2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

As we grow in Christ, the carnal man should continuously decrease and die so the spirit man can continuously increase and live! Read Ephesians 4:20-25.

Sometimes during our growth spurt, we can become discouraged because everything appears to be off! Nothing fits anymore! In the natural, our voice changes, we look differently, the clothes we liked to wear suddenly don't fit right anymore. Those special shoes and outfits that gave us that good feeling just aren't working like before! In fact, some people have experienced growth so quickly, that they have to go out and buy whole new wardrobes and get rid of the old things completely. So too in our spiritual growth. The old habits and desires, the old ways of thinking and decision making processes that we felt comfortable with, our independent lifestyle, our way of talking and walking no longer fit the new man! Now we have to put on our new wardrobe of submission and humility, obedience and sacrifice, worship and praise! These are the new garments of the spiritual-growing man!

One more thing happens in our spiritual growth experience: we become "perfected." That means we become "mature"; we start growing up! The things that use to bother us, that use to cause us to worry, that use to cause us to fall backwards, that use to cause us to give up, no longer have the same effect! Once again the apostle Paul gave us this comparative analogy in 1 Corinthians 13:11:

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Those besetting sins and weights that use to knock us down every time no longer have that same impact. The growing pains are finally paying off sweet dividends - We're growing up!

Finally, in spiritual growth, we learn one of the most important and powerful lessons in our walk - "Thankfulness." We learn how to say "thank you" to God for all that He has brought us through! We learn to say "thank you" when we have and when we don't have; when we we're surrounded by so-called friends, and when we're all alone; we say "thank you;" when our bodies no longer look, feel or function like they did in our youth - we say "thank you Lord" for another day! The Bible tells us that "giving thanks" is the will of God for the believer:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Remember, when we learn to thank God in our growth session, we stop giving the devil ammunition to use against us! Read James 4:7-11.

So be encouraged when you experience "growing pains" during your walk with God knowing He loves you and is perfecting you to His glory and for your good. Know that when we submit to God to break us and build us again is the only time that we truly experience God for ourselves; that's when we begin to mature and grow up! That's when we can one day say as did King David:

"I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread."

Give God "thanks" for your "Growing Pains."

God richly bless you is my prayer.

Reverend John Sherrod
Reverend John Sherrod

Written by : Reverend John Sherrod