Greetings dear friends in Christ! I hope all had a growing day today, for those are the only ones worth having! Today I was very blessed by a message called “Embrace the Struggle.” This sermon greatly challenged, stretched, and encouraged me! I was so blessed by many of the points, I just had to share a few with you! I hope they can be a timely encouragement! Just to let you know, this is kind of long! :o)
1. Growing up is natural. Physically speaking, growing pains are natural things that we must experience. Mentally, maturing is a normal and needed thing. And this is true for our spiritual walk. Ephesians 4: 13-15 says, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Christ expects us to grow up. And in order for us to grow up we need to learn to embrace it. I know in my life comfort has become an idol to me. The easy road is soo appealing, and sometimes I feel like “I’ve arrived” and I’ve nothing else to learn. What a deceitful, ungodly, and sinful lie! Christ redeemed and forgave my sinful past, but I am to walk on into His holiness.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Col. 3:5-10.
Yes, sisters, we need to grow up in Christ. And growing hurts, but it is right.
2. While we were once slaves to sin, now we are slaves to righteousness.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Rom. 6:16-18.
Because we have been born again, we have the blessed responsibility and privilege to live for Christ (and this responsibility is quite lovely because He first loved us). Growing up in Christ requires us to yield ourselves to Him- submission. *Do I hear an inward groan/squeal coming from the hearts of God’s daughters?* I know my heart often groans when I think of submitting myself to the Lord. Why? Because it is my sin nature fighting against the perfect and holy will of God; in short, I want to be in control of my life. Oh, how sad that I must battle with my good Creator and Father when He knows best for me! Submission is hard, but it is necessary and good. I have seen good and lovely fruits and blessings come from when I joyfully yield my heart to my Lord (and my authorities). While obedience is sometimes difficult, sisters, let us seek God’s ready grace so that we may be obedient to Him. Anything less is sin.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Rom. 12:1,2.
Taken from Webster’s 1828 dictionary, “transformed” means: “Changed in form or external appearance; metamorphosed; transmuted; renewed.” “Metamorphosis” means: “Change of form or shape; transformation; particularly, a change in the form of being; as the metamorphosis of an insect from the aurelia or chrysalis state into a winged animal. Any change of form or shape.”
Christ is very clear that He wants a real change in us; a change similar to the metamorphosis a caterpillar makes into a butterfly. Something interesting is that being transformed requires a bit of wrestling. In order for a butterfly to come out of its cocoon, there is a bit of struggle that must ensue. Our pastor told a story on how a man wanted to help a struggling butterfly out of its cocoon. Using a sharp object, he carefully cut the cocoon and out came the butterfly. However, instead of flying away, the butterfly lay on the ground, unable to properly use its wings. Why? Because the butterfly did not struggle (which is natural), his blood was not properly pumped into his wings, making him useless. This sad story relates to our Christian walk. Becoming like Christ is a difficult struggle, but the struggle makes us stronger. It is necessary. There is no spiritual growth without a struggle.