Unstuck and Growing Like a Weed, Girlfriend! (part two)
Do you want to grow in your relationship with God? Do you long to be a person who overflows with the love, joy, peace and patience God promises to those who seek Him?
Of course you do.
But do you sometimes, or (let’s be real, here) lots of times, find yourself floundering in your faith rather than flourishing? Do you ever feel stuck in your spiritual growth?
Maybe you commit to be patient only to find yourself losing your cool. Perhaps you promise to forgive only to find yourself replaying hurtful situations in your head. Maybe you tell yourself you’ll be loving, then feel more like wringing someone’s neck rather than hugging it. If so, you’re experiencing real life. Welcome to the club.
But real life doesn’t have to sideline our spiritual growth – in fact, real life is the conduit for our spiritual growth.
Can I make a confession?
I used to think things like “I was such a better Christian before I got married” or “I was a really nice person before I had kids” or “when my schedule gets a little less busy I’ll have time to really focus on my relationship with God.” These thoughts implied that my marriage, or my children, or my circumstances were the reason for my spiritual muck. The truth is, my marriage, my children, and my seasons of less-than-ideal-circumstances revealed my spiritual immaturity, not caused it.
Realizing this was a game changer for me. In fact, our faith grows best in the midst of messy relationships, personal struggles and moments of feeling utterly overwhelmed, IF we do one thing:
Work out what God has worked in.
(This is the second essential component to cultivating your relationship with God, for the first see the previous post).
Knowing God’s word doesn’t cause me to grow. But doing it, does.
We work God’s Word out when we do what He tells us to do. We work out what God has worked in when we live our real, everyday lives in dependence upon Him and in obedience to His word.
Ok. So how? In real life?
My friend Ann found herself stressed out and worried over a family crisis. Then, in the midst of over thinking the situation for about the millionth time, she remembered a Bible verse she committed to memory years ago:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
Knowing the Bible verse was merely the first step for Ann. When she obeyed what it said — praying about her circumstance, telling God her needs and thanking Him for all He has done—her panic was replaced with peace. Of course, Ann had to re-up on allowing God to replace her worry with His wisdom more than once. Working out what God works in isn’t a one-shot deal. It’s something we do day by day, and often, moment-by-moment.
For years John and Kathy heard sermons on God’s plan for marriage, but five minutes after church they somehow found themselves in a downward spiral of negativity. The daily stresses of life, kids, two jobs and a mortgage, left them with little time for fun, and provided lots of opportunities for bickering. The love they once felt for each other seemed only a vague memory. One day Kathy opened her Bible and read:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9)
The verses seemed to leap off the page, piercing Kathy’s heart with how much she wasn’t doing what God’s word clearly instructed her to do. Normally she might have rationalized her negative thoughts about her husband. But not this day. This day she grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and wrote every good, honorable, positive quality she could think of about her husband. At first the positive thoughts came slowly, but as she wrote, they picked up steam. She finished her list as a different wife than when she began.
Make no mistake. God’s word can and will change our lives if we get it into our life and work it out in our life. It’s true for people like Ann, it’s true for people like John and Kathy, and it’s true for you.
Do you want to have a close relationship with God? Do you want to radiate love, joy and peace to those around you? Do you want to be used by God to influence others? It comes down to this: we grow in our relationship to God to the degree we cultivate our relationship with God.
Get God’s word into your life.
Work God’s word out in your life.
You’ll never be the same.
Have you ever experienced growth in your life by working out what God has worked in? If so, I would love to hear! Leave a comment below.
(Portions of this blog were taken from Donna’s book SEEK: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God. Click here to get your copy.)
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.